We’ve covered nurse practitioners in Canada here on ThriveAP in the past. NPs aren’t prevalent in our neighboring country up north, however the profession is gaining some traction thanks to a recent budget passed in British Columbia. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced yesterday that the province will fund 200 new positions for nurse practitioners to help increase access to healthcare for British Columbians.
Like many areas of the United States, B.C. faces a shortage of primary care providers with 780,000 people in the province lacking access to a primary care provider. The new budget allocates $155 million to create 200 new NP positions as well as $1.2 million to create 30 new spots in nurse practitioner programs. Currently, British Columbia is home to just 426 practicing nurse practitioners.
In addition to growing in number, nurse practitioners in Canada have also experienced recent gains related to their scope of practice. This year, British Columbia expanded NP’s scope of practice to include prescribing medications to treat opioid addiction like suboxone and methadone. The profession was also selected by Canadian Business as the second best job in the country.
While the number of NPs practicing in Canada is significantly lower than in the United States (the county has only about 10% of the population of the U.S.), its interesting to see the parallels between the two countries. Overall, governments and patients are recognizing that nurse practitioners are a great option to pitch in and help out with a primary care shortage and to treat the increasing number of individuals suffering from chronic diseases. As a result, scope of practice for NPs is becoming more favorable so these professionals can practice to their fullest extent.
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