Pursuing lifelong learning through the Nurse Practitioner program

Making people feel better is what drew Heather Godfrey to pursue a career in nursing. Having worked in Pediatric Emergency for 16 years, she’s had many different roles throughout her nursing career. A common thread throughout her career is continuous learning, which led her to pursue a Masters, Nurse Practitioner program.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are independent practitioners that can prescribe, treat and diagnose patients. Heather always wanted to be able to work collaboratively with teams but also practice independently.

Heather is a recipient of the Florence and Lloyd Cooper Alberta Registered Nurses Educational Trust (ARNET) Scholarship for the excellence she’s demonstrated in pursuing the Nurse Practitioner program. Education advancement and research is one of Calgary Health Foundation’s priority areas in enhancing health care for our community.

“I’m incredibly grateful to receive the scholarship and to know there are people in the community that care and want to make a difference. When I read where this fund was developed, it really struck home because when I was a kid, I used to go to Lloyd’s. To have a personal connection to the people who developed the scholarship is super special,” Heather said.

The scholarship has helped decrease the stress of paying bills and providing for her family, as the program has been very demanding.

“ARNET makes a huge difference. The NP program is costly and far more work than I ever dreamed it to be. Without the scholarship it would be extremely tough.”

Heather is grateful for the scholarship not only because it provides monetary funds, but it gives people a reason to pursue further education.

“Part of being a practitioner is having students and supporting students. I know that being a student can be difficult, so this scholarship reminds me to keep giving back and building the student part of our profession.”

Having worked in Pediatric Emergency for a significant amount of time, Heather has found that the more nurses can educate parents, the better the outcomes can be for patients.

“It’s important to empower parents with how to treat their kids at home, so they feel more confident.”

What Heather enjoys the most about working with kids is how quickly they can recover, as she finds children to be incredibly resilient.

A big difference she sees in terms of how she cares for patients after going through the Nurse Practitioner program is to look at patients with a lens that focuses more on the diagnostic process.

“When NPs approach patients, we look more for causes and what the management plan is going to be. That’s the major difference between a NP and a registered nurse.”

She hopes that more people will understand what Nurse Practitioners do and that the scope of practice is very similar to a family physician. We can’t wait to see what impact Heather will make in patient care in her new career.

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