MIDDLETON, NS - Natalie Dempsey, a transitional care unit nurse at Soldier’s Memorial Hospital in Middleton, regularly witnesses the impact of the doctor vacancies within her community firsthand.
“When we discharge, sometimes a lot of these patients don’t have family doctors,” she says.
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The issue has even hit closer to home, with the Middleton resident’s husband only recently being placed with a nurse practitioner after waiting to be placed with a family practice in the Valley for three years.
“I have to take my husband to walk-in clinics half of the time, and some of the time, he couldn’t even be seen within those four hours that the walk-in clinic was open,” said Dempsey.
“Going to the Berwick walk-in clinic and Soldiers’ ER for simple things like a doctor’s note is just a waste of resources and time.”
Dempsey sees nurse practitioners playing a vital role in care delivery as the need for family doctors becomes more pressing.
“They can diagnose, prescribe medications, send out consults,” said Dempsey, who stressed that it was a huge relief to have a nurse practitioner accept her husband as a patient.