What is a Nurse Practitioner?

In Alberta, Nurse Practitioners are Master’s or PhD-prepared health professionals who provide essential health care services such as primary care, outpatient clinic-based care, or hospital care. Nurse practitioners are completely independent health professionals and require no outside supervision of their practice. They bring a wealth of knowledge to provide high-quality care to the CRPCN.

Nurse practitioners view the health of the whole person, with emphasis on education, communication, and disease prevention. They work in collaboration with their patients and CRPCN’s allied health professionals to provide patient-centred care. Nurse practitioners help patients manage manage their symptoms, understand their medications, and consider alternative therapy options.

Nurse practitioners communicate with patients about health findings and diagnoses, further testing requirements, and referrals to other health care professionals.

The PCN Nurse Practitioner Support Program began in April 2019 with the goal to increase nurse practitioner services/presence especially in high demand areas and priorities to:

  • increase access to primary health care, for example, in rural and remote areas
  • meet unmet demand for primary health care services
  • provide care to underserved populations
  • support chronic disease management

Jennifer Lezubski is one of our NPs working in Chestermere and Gleichen. Her career boasts an impressive 18 years in intensive care unit nursing at the Foothills Medical Centre.

She says, "I decided to make the transition to primary care after seeing how many critical illnesses could potentially be avoided by doing a better job in primary care, and tackling it from an upstream approach rather than downstream at the tertiary care level."

That's what primary care is all about - taking care of illness before it get serious, so it doesn't get serious.

On any given day, you can find Jenn doing anything from Botox injections for chronic migraine, to IUD insertions, to prescribing medications, and conducting physical examinations. Jenn is also CanREACH certified.

Minna Kutvonen was born and raised in British Columbia but has Finnish roots. She has been a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for 13 years, caring for children from newborn to 18 years of age. She did her training at both the University of British Columbia (undergrad) and the University of Toronto (Masters and NP).

She has experience working in multiple settings, including acute care maternal/newborn, primary care, as well as teaching at Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary. She is passionate about her ability to provide pediatric-specific care all day long!

Outside of work, she and her husband are busy running after two young children. They love to travel, spend time outdoors (especially on the lake) and socialize with family and friends!