Nurses in PCNs increase efficiencies for family doctors, reduce obstacles for patients

Jul 9, 2024

Registered nurses are helping to enhance patient care in the Fraser Northwest Primary Care Network (PCN).

Some 38 registered nurses (RNs) work within patient medical homes —family practices that provide longitudinal patient care —in four specific PCNs: New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Southwest and Southeast Coquitlam, and North Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra.

PCN director Michiko Mazloum says registered nurses provide additional services that weren’t offered by clinics before such as baby immunizations and other injections.

“We're able to offer that to the families and moms that are there and increased access for triage. We are also able to have our RNs in practice in our maternity clinics,” Mazloum says.

A PCN brings together physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, allied health care providers, health authority service providers, and community organizations who work collectively to provide primary care service for a local population. There are 30 clinics within the Fraser Northwest PCN, serving a population of 350,000.

The key strategies of the PCN focus on primary care access and attachment while improving health outcomes for all patients in their communities, including people with frailty and complex care needs and those who need prenatal and baby support.

Besides the RNs, a handful of relief nurses provide vacation coverage, sick calls and support, such as running flu clinics, charting reviews, or clinic-specific projects.      

“This role not only offers consistency for the physicians to reduce gaps in the nursing support, but they can also work on quality improvement projects,” Mazloum says. “It’s a work in progress. But when those relief positions are not covering vacation, they are able to do work at the clinics proactively with panel support and chronic disease management and whatnot.”

“For all of us, the intended PCN support is to increase efficiencies in clinics, and with the providers, to decrease redundancies and obstacles.”

FPSC and partners have prepared a group of supports to help primary care clinics integrate a nurse into practice.  Click here for the website.