Conestoga news

August 24, 2010 11:13 AM

New Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic to Open at Conestoga College

A new nurse practitioner-led health clinic will be opening in Kitchener on Conestoga College's Doon campus.
The clinic - expected to serve more than 3,200 in the area - currently without primary care - was announced Monday by Kitchener-Conestoga MPP LeeannaPendergast as one of 14 being added across the province.

Those are among 25 nurse practitioner-led clinics which should all be open in 2012 to serve more than 40,000 patients.

Details about the new Kitchener clinic are not yet finalized and the college, which put in the proposal to the Ministry of Health, will work with the government to settle on location and staffing.

Pendergast hopes to see the clinic opened within a year, and thinks Conestoga College is the perfect location.

“The college already exemplifies a team model,” she said.Nurse practitioners can treat common illnesses and injuries and order tests, and work with doctors, nurses, dietitians, social workers and other providers in a team approach to health care, including an emphasis on chronic disease management.

John Milloy, Kitchener Centre MPP and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, said it’s important for the government to look at new ways of delivering health care considering the growing pressure on the system. “We have to be creative and we have to do things differently,” he said. Hospitals are just part of a larger system, and family doctors are not the only professionals able to look after a person’s health care needs, Milloy said. “We have to move beyond that old model and think about collaborations, think about teams,” he said.
“It’s wonderful news for our community.” The new clinic is also great news for the college and its school of health and life sciences.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for a true living lab for our learners who are already here,” said chair of nursing Jason Powell, who worked on the proposal. Not only will Conestoga’s nursing students have a chance at hands-on practice, but also those in occupational and respiratory therapy, and the dietetics and paramedics programs. Finding opportunities for the students to work with real patients, and in a multidisciplinary team, is challenging in this area with all the local hospitals quite a distance from the college campus, Powell said. “This is amazing.”

As appeared in The Record on August 23, 2010
Written by Johanna Weidner, Record staff