Nurse practitioners (NPs), registered nurses, the public and stakeholder groups have demonstrated great enthusiasm regarding Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics (NPLCs) and have asked many questions about the model. The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and Nurse Practitioner Association of Ontario are pleased to provide the following update.

What is a nurse practitioner led clinic?

NPLCs are a new, innovative model for delivery of comprehensive primary health care in Ontario and Canada. The model is designed to improve access to care for the thousands of individuals and families who do not currently have a primary health-care provider. One of the unique aspects of the model is the incorporation of nursing leadership within an interprofessional team.

What services do NPLCs provide to patients?

Patients who register with a NPLC will have access to comprehensive primary health care.  Clinics provide care when patients are ill as well as a range of health services that help individuals and families maintain or improve their overall health. Typical of other primary care delivery models programs and services  include  annual physicals, episodic illness care, falls prevention programs for older persons, immunizations, smoking cessation, injury prevention and monitoring and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma, heart disease and mental health conditions.

Who provides care to patients?

Interprofessional teams provide care to patients. Patients are registered with the clinic and not to an individual health-care provider.  Core primary health care services are provided by a nurse practitioner. In addition to nurse practitioners, other professionals on the team may include physicians, registered nurses, social workers, pharmacists, dietitians, mental health workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists or others. Depending on individual needs, patients have access to care from any member of the team. The design of each team is based on community and patient requirements. Referrals to medical specialists are sought as needed.

How do these clinics fit with government priorities for primary health care?

NPLCs are a key component of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Cares new family health-care strategy. Nurse practitioner led clinics are designed to improve access to primary health care and reduce the number of patients without a health-care provider.

How is a Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic different from other models of care?

NPLCs provide the same comprehensive family health-care services as other family practice models. The key difference is that nurse practitioner leadership at all levels of the organization (e.g., governance, clinical practice and day to day operations) is embedded into the structure of the organization and patient care. This brings the comprehensive perspective of nurses, especially the focus on wellbeing, health promotion and disease prevention, to the day-to-day delivery of care for patients. In this model, nurse practitioners and registered nurses work to their full scope of practice.

Accepting new patients

If you would like to register as a patient with the clinic, please complete the registration form here.