(l-r) Tiffany Trungu and Jane McNamee
For the week of Nov. 7-13 we are celebrating our Nurse Practitioners across Canada. Nurse Practitioners’ Week is held annually to celebrate NPs and raise awareness of the exceptional care they provide in healthcare settings and in their communities. It is an opportunity to understand the full potential of NPs to play a significant role in the health system.
In order to gain a better understanding of the role NPs play at West Park, we asked two of our incredible NPs - Jane McNamee and Tiffany Trungu - a few questions about their journey to join the profession and their role at the Centre.
Question 1: How did you make the decision to become a Nurse practitioner?
Jane: I have been a lifelong learner. After completing a college course to be an RN, I went on to complete a BA in history. I then completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Seeking more knowledge, at the graduate level, I stumbled upon the NP program at U of T. The description of the course material seemed grounded and appealing to me. I was quite fortunate to be accepted and thoroughly enjoyed each course which seemed to build upon the last one.
Tiffany: The profession of nursing is continuously evolving and is a constant field of learning. Becoming a nurse practitioner was appealing because it gave me the opportunity to provide care at a different level and incorporate my previous experiences as a registered nurse.
Question 2: What areas of the hospital do you support?
Jane: Most of my work is with the respiratory program, specifically the Tuberculosis Service. I am clinical contact for the TB clinic but also attend rounds on the 20 bed inpatient unit (2EB). I’m an active member of a number of committees where I represent professional practice.
Tiffany: I support the Chronic Assisted Ventilatory Care Unit including the Transition to Home Ventilation and Enhanced Living Unit programs.
Question 3: What is your favourite part about your role?
Jane: My favourite part is patient care. In my role, I’m able to help patients cure their disease. This is not always possible in other areas of the hospital where patients may get better and go home. As an independent practitioner, I’m able to diagnose, order laboratory tests and chest X-rays. I can write prescriptions for TB medications as well as other medications. My role straddles both the nursing and physician roles in a unique way. I have both lenses, the nurse and the doctor and I’m able to help both these professions knowing the medical and nursing realms.
Tiffany: My favourite part about my role is that I can offer a unique perspective of both the nursing and provider aspect of healthcare. This approach helps bridge different landscapes of care to provide a holistic and patient-centered platform.
Question 4: What advice do you offer anyone else considering becoming a Nurse Practitioner?
Jane: I would certainly encourage an RN to become an NP. Nurses should realize that the NP program is a demanding curriculum. Nurses who have diverse experience as an RN are better suited to the role.
Tiffany: Education and experience go hand-in-hand and always be curious/ask questions!
Question 5: Can you tell us about your most rewarding experience as an NP at West Park?
Jane: There have been numerous rewarding experiences at West Park for me. Recently, I enjoyed being an injector at the COVID 19 vaccine clinics. I felt I could alleviate the fears of the people who were rolling up their sleeves and were anxious about this new vaccine. It was rewarding to talk to all the people who came to the clinic.
Other rewarding experiences involved helping people with the diagnosis of their TB; easing concerns over the diagnosis and the lengthy treatment (minimum 6 months). Sometimes, I’m able to write letters for patients, which impacts their immigration status or work status. For example, just a few weeks ago, there was a patient who had been discharged long ago from our TB service who presented seeking information for a new job at another hospital. It seemed his family doctor was not seeing patients anymore and the walk-in clinic was not helpful with respect to his occupational health form which needed to be completed. I was able to help him with the paperwork and he was so grateful.
Tiffany: It is rewarding to have the trust and confidence of the patients and their families in the care you provide. Patients in CAVC are medically complex and their care requires the skill and collaboration of the entire multidisciplinary team. Being part of this team has been extremely rewarding.