Legislation for nurse practitioners far advanced, says official

Friday, July 12, 2019

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ACTING deputy chief nursing officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Saidie Williams-Allen, says the legislative framework for nurse practitioners (NPs) to practise in Jamaica is far advanced.

Speaking at the Nurse Practitioners 66th National Seminar at the Royalton White Sands in Trelawny on Wednesday, she said the ministry recognises the value and contribution that NPs have been making to “enhance the quality of health care in Jamaica”.

“That is why the ministry is taking legislation and your prescriptive rights for the nurse practitioners very seriously. Work on this has been advanced and we should be hearing some updates very soon,” she said.

“We know that you have been anxiously waiting for a very long time, but I say to you, continue the good work and provide health care despite the many challenges,” Williams-Allen added.

President of the Jamaica Association of Nurse Practitioners (JANP), Heather Henry-McGarth, said the group is committed to lobbying on behalf of NPs in the island “on the path to receive legislative status”.

She emphasised that the JANP will continue to embrace professionalism and serve with distinction, adding that the association has the support of its partners, such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

The seminar, which is scheduled to end today, was held under the theme 'Evidence to Action: The role of research in improving clinical outcomes'.

The objectives of the event were to provide an opportunity for participants to develop a greater appreciation for research; to strengthen the capacity of NPs to deliver effective evidence-based care; and to enhance the integration of research into the holistic approach to health care.

“We must be involved in research in order to inform our actions, thus improving our practice. The knowledge we gain from research must be put in action. We must see improvements in our clinical practices regarding the delivery of quality healthcare leading towards satisfying clients' experiences,” said Williams-Allen.

The NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who serve as primary care providers to mitigate the effects of physician shortages in underserved areas. They are trained to assess patient needs, interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, diagnose illness and disease, prescribe medication and formulate treatment plans.


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