About Us

Expanding the role of nurse practitioners

Oct. 18, 2017

Dear editor,

I was disappointed to read the article, “Expand nurse practitioners’ role, union says” in this morning’s Chronicle Herald. It’s unfortunate, at a time when we’re all working toward forming more collaborative care teams, that we read a narrative that seems to place more value on one provider over another and an opinion to replace physicians with nurse practitioners.

Doctors Nova Scotia has always taken the perspective that there is a role for all health-care providers in the system, but one can’t replace another. This is the foundation of collaborative care, as promoted by the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Canadian College of Family Physicians. Each care provider has specific education, training and experience, as well as a defined scope of practice, which contribute to well-rounded care for Nova Scotians.

One of the individuals interviewed made a comment that Nova Scotia doesn’t have to train more family doctors. This is an incredibly short-sighted view. More than half of the 2,400 physicians in Nova Scotia are over the age of 50 and more than 100,000 Nova Scotians don’t have access to primary care. We support the government’s investment in a new family medicine residency program and believe this to be one key component in an overall health human resource framework.

Yes, the budget allocated $2.4 million to training family doctors in a rural community and funding a new practice-ready assessment program. Additionally, another $9.6 million will support the establishment of collaborative practices – increasing access to physicians, nurse practitioners, family practice nurses and other providers. This is a good thing.

We need to be promoting a culture of collaboration, not competition.


Dr. Michelle Dow
Past President