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What is a Nurse Practitioner?

People always ask me why I didn’t become a doctor. My answer to this question is that I get the best of both worlds as a Nurse Practitioner – I get to practice nursing and medicine. The other question I get asked quite frequently is what exactly is a Nurse Practitioner. Most people understand the roles of the nurse and the doctor, but many misunderstand the role of a Nurse Practitioner.

Nurse Practitioners are independent health care professionals with the knowledge and ability to diagnose and treat medical conditions and diseases, order and interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and imaging (i.e. X-ray, Ultrasound, CT, MRI), prescribe medication, and perform medical procedures within their legislated scope of practice outlined by their provincial regulatory bodies. It is important to note, that each province in Canada has their own rules for what a Nurse Practitioner can and cannot do. Since Longevity Care Clinic is a Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic in British Columbia (BC), this blog pertains specifically to this province.

Nurse Practitioners in BC must first obtain their Bachelor of Nursing degree and gain two to five years of full-time nursing experience prior to applying to a Nurse Practitioner program, which is delivered at a Master’s level. After completing a graduate program, which will take a minimum of 2 years, the nurse must pass a national Nurse Practitioner written exam for the specialty in which he/she is applying to practice (i.e. family, adult, or pediatric). In addition, nurses in BC must complete an in-person Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). After passing both exams, the nurse must become registered through their regulatory board (i.e. British Columbia College of Nurses & Midwives) in order to become a Nurse Practitioner licensed to practice independently in BC.

Nurse Practitioners practice in a variety of healthcare settings in BC including hospitals, out-patient clinics, residential care and community settings. However, unlike doctors, Nurse Practitioners are not paid directly by BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP). Therefore, Nurse Practitioner’s are required to seek funding through other sources such as a Health Authority, the Ministry of Health, or Privately.

If you are interested in learning more, please email us at

Longevity Care Clinic is a privately run, Nurse Practitioner-led clinic offering women services to optimize their health and wellness. Contact us today to find out how we can help you on your journey to wellness.

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1 Comment

Melanie Chapple
Melanie Chapple
Oct 25, 2022


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