It is not just the residents who value Tammy Rogers, nurse practitioner at the Bethany Care Centre in Cochrane. Their families say she gives them peace of mind. “Tammy listens to our concerns,” says the daughter of one resident. “We have a rapport with her.” Since 2007, a Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network (PCN) nurse practitioner has worked within Bethany Cochrane to increase residents’ access to primary health care.

A team effort

Day-to-day, Rogers works closely with each resident’s family physician. She also collaborates with other health care professionals, including a clinical pharmacist and an occupational therapist, to offer long-term care. “With the help of the team, I provide on-site medical care,” says Rogers, who explains her nurse practitioner role as an advanced form of nursing. “Because of my extended education, I’m able to assess and treat many issues, order tests and prescribe medications.”

Many residents at Bethany Cochrane have more than one health concern, which adds to the complexity — and the value — of the nurse practitioner role and the diversity of skills required from the whole team. “By tackling these as a team — taking into account each health team member’s expertise, whether that is pharmacy or psychology — we are able to look at the whole picture and provide care holistically.”

Families in the loop

Year-round support is extended to residents’ families, helping to build rapport. The team also meets formally with residents and their families once a year. “This is a chance for the family to ask questions and be involved,” Rogers says. It is also an opportunity for everyone to hear all of the team members speak about their care plans and assessments. “It’s important for us to build a relationship with the families,” Rogers says. “Trust is part of providing quality care.” Lyle, the son of one resident couple, says he and his family feel valued by Rogers and the team. “There is an open door policy here,” he says. “We appreciate it.”

5 nurse practitioners work within Calgary Foothills PCN. They help patients in a range of maternity, aged care and general practice settings.