HALIFAX: Nova Scotia will soon be hiring 22 nurse practitioners and family practice nurses, with seven of those positions going to Cape Breton.

Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Michel Samson MLA is pleased that over 4,300 Cape Bretoners will be able to receive collaborative health care on the island. The areas of Port Hawkesbury, Isle Madame and L’Ardoise, among other communities on the island, will be served by these new nurses.

“This announcement is another step forward in our vision of expanding collaborative care teams across the province,” Samson said.

“To see that many communities in Cape Breton-Richmond will benefit from the hiring of these new nurses is fantastic. I look forward to welcoming them to our area and am confident they will deliver exceptional care.”

The province is giving the Nova Scotia Health Authority an extra $3.6 million to expand family practices with a total of 13 more nurse practitioners and nine more family practice nurses across the province. The mix of professionals may change, depending on community needs and the recruitment process.

Team members will be added to practices in the coming months. In the coming weeks, the health authority will issue an expression of interest in some communities, for family practices interested in hosting nurse practitioners or family practice nurses. Once that is complete, it will post the new positions.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of primary health care,” said Kathy Bell, director of primary health care, chronic disease and family practice, Nova Scotia Health Authority.

“We’ve recently added family physicians in communities such as Glace Bay and Baddeck. Now, with these positions, we’ll have the strength and supports needed to ensure people have access to primary health-care providers. Primary health care is about people getting the right care, in the right place at the right time.”

These nursing professionals will join collaborative care practices where they will complement the work of doctors and other practitioners. Together under one roof, they will deliver high quality, appropriate care, when patients need it most.

Nurse practitioners take advanced training that prepares them to diagnose and manage illnesses, order and interpret tests, and prescribe medications.

Family practice nurses are registered nurses who can independently assess, plan and coordinate care, make referrals, and evaluate how people are responding to treatment.