Nurses could expand scope of health care in Houston

Northern Health is looking to expand nurse services to offer a wider scope of care by becoming Remote Nursing Certified.

Northern Health is looking to expand nurse services to offer a wider scope of care.

It was one of five recommendations in the Houston Health Services Review released by Northern Health February 6.

Right now Houston nurses are RN First Call Certified, but the review recommends they expand to Remote Nursing Certified.

A 15-week online course would enable nurses to independently carry out some activities that normally require a doctor order, the review said.

They would be able to diagnose and treat sexually transmitted diseases, offer birth control and treat some fairy straightforward symptoms of breathing or skin conditions.

Northern Health will also consider offering Houston nurses education for Primary Care Nursing.

This goes hand in hand with transforming the Health Centre into a Primary Care Home, a long term plan that may take up to six years, said Cormac Hikisch, Health Service Administrator for Northern Health.

In a Primary Care Home, doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, physiotherapists and other health professionals work as a team to address a patient’s health concerns.

The biggest benefit will be for those with complex health concerns, said Penny Anguish, Northwest Chief Operating Officer with Northern Health.

Primary Care Nurses would be a valuable part of that professional team, working to address health concerns and support a patient in managing their health.

Finally, Northern Health may hire a Nurse Practitioner to strengthen the professional team at the Health Centre.

That will be decided with future doctors working in the health centre, said Jonathon Dyck, Public Affairs Officer with Northern Health.

Since the review was just released February 6, Dyck says they’re just starting the process of implementing plans, and have no specific timeline for nurse training.