Each year in Manitoba, November 18th is recognized as Nurse Practitioner Day.
Caroline Bitton is one of over 300 in the province and says some people aren't exactly sure of what the position entails.
"It's a day to celebrate nurse practitioners and to spread the word about what we do, and there's still a large portion of the public that's still unclear about the role of NPs. So it's a nice time to provide some clarification and address the public on what we do."
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with a master’s or doctoral level education and clinical experience that allows them to diagnose illnesses, treat conditions, prescribe medications, admit patients to hospitals as well as order diagnostic tests. They offer a range of services and work to complement the services provided by family physicians and other providers.
Bitton says you will find NPs all over the province working in many different areas.
"Some of them are self-employed businesses, some work in medical aesthetics, family practice, primary care, or home health care. Some specialty areas would be heart failure, transgender health, HIV, cancer care, and cannabis. And RAAM clinics as well. These help people with addictions. There's psychiatry, perinatal mental health, pediatrics, teen clinics schools, and universities. Some are in research, some are on military bases, in penitentiaries, nursing stations, and in management and governance as well. You'll find them everywhere"
Bitton adds this year, the day marks several milestones.
"This year marks 10 years since the government of Manitoba proclaimed November 18th as Nurse Practitioner Day in Manitoba. We were also the first province in Canada to claim this day. Plus it's also the 25th anniversary of the Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Manitoba."