The Alberta government announced some new program support for nurses today (April 25).

The new program, the Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Program, will allow nurses to receive about 80 per cent of their compensation to family doctors who provide comprehensive primary care.

It's based on how busy the nurse is, and how many patients they see.

This will also allow nurses to practice patient care autonomously and operate their own practices. 

Premier Danielle Smith made the announcement this morning.

“Nurse practitioners are a welcome and integral part of the solution to improving access to primary health care services. Finalizing this funding model is an exciting step forward in our journey to refocus health care in Alberta, and I’m looking forward to this expansion of health care services.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

 $15 million is set aside for the new program and nurse practitioners must meet several requirements.

  • committing to provide medically necessary primary care services,
  • having a panel size of at least 900 patients,
  • providing after-hours access on weekends, evenings, or holidays, and accepting walk-in appointments as they build a panel size of 900 patients.
  • The minimum panel size of 900 is consistent with the British Columbia model.   

“This program is exciting news for Albertans. It not only increases health care capacity in communities across the province but also provides more Albertans with access to a regular primary care provider and will help take pressure off the rest of the health system. Supporting nurse practitioners to do more of the work they are trained to do is another tool we’re using to stabilize and strengthen primary health care throughout Alberta.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health

Nurse practitioners who are just entering practice can also apply for one-time mentorship funding.

MLA for Livingstone-Macleod Chelsae Petrovic, who's a former nurse, was also excited by the announcement.

“The new compensation model for nurse practitioners will strengthen Alberta’s primary care system and ensure more Albertans get access to care they need, when and where they need it. This is great news for patients and nurse practitioners.”

Chelsae Petrovic, parliamentary secretary for health workforce engagement.

 You can watch the media announcement here.