Nurse practitioner filling gap left by doctor shortage in Lumby, B.C.

Click to play video: 'Nurse practitioner to help ease Lumby doctor shortage' Nurse practitioner to help ease Lumby doctor shortage
Nurse practitioner to help ease Lumby doctor shortage – Nov 18, 2021

A North Okanagan community has found an alternative solution to its family doctor shortage.

The Village of Lumby is welcoming a nurse practitioner this week.

Read more: 2 North Okanagan medical labs closing due to staff shortages

Newly graduated nurse practitioner Graeme Rosenfeld is currently getting his practice set up at the Lumby Health Centre and preparing to see patients next week.

“I chose Lumby because I’ve always wanted to do primary care in a community,” Rosenfeld said.

Read more: Foreign doctors ready to help are ‘sidelined’ by regulation, expert says

It’s good news for the hundreds of area patients without a family physician who will now have the opportunity to access a primary care provider.

Story continues below advertisement

The Lumby and District Health Services Society has struggled for years to maintain enough primary care providers for the community and surrounding rural area, with a population of roughly 6,000 people.

Right now they have two doctors. Ideally, there would be three.

Read more: Limited doctor availability reduces Keremeos’s emergency department access

The society brought in the nurse practitioner to help fill that gap.

Society Chairperson Ev Reade said there has been a waitlist for primary care in the community so residents are happy to see the new nurse practitioner in town.

“People have had to go into walk-in clinics, go into emergency, this alleviates a lot of that,” said Reade.

Read more: ‘I’m afraid for my life’: Okanagan woman renews calls to solve doctor shortage

“They can come in and get put on the list for Graeme and that alleviates a segment of the community that doesn’t have a doctor.”

With nurse practitioners also in high demand, the health services society says getting one for Lumby also took years of lobbying.

“We were extremely pleased to be granted a nurse practitioner. It means a lot to the community,” said Reade.

Story continues below advertisement

“There are lots of people who are unattached so having a nurse practitioner come in and offer that care, it means a lot.”

Click to play video: 'Report highlights challenges aspiring B.C. family doctors face' Report highlights challenges aspiring B.C. family doctors face
Report highlights challenges aspiring B.C. family doctors face – Nov 13, 2021

The next step will be educating patients on what services a nurse practitioner can provide.

“I’m full scope primary care,” said Rosenfeld.

“Nurse practitioners can order medications, do prescriptions, order lab tests, diagnostic tests and we can also do referrals.”

With the nurse practitioner now in the office, the health services society is no longer recruiting for another physician but isn’t ruling out the need for one down the line as the area grows.

Sponsored content