Nurse practitioners hired in Calgary, Edmonton under pilot project

The province is helping four community groups temporarily employ some nurse practitioners.

Funding for 3-year trial project will employ about a dozen nurse practitioners

Alex Community Health Centre in Calgary is one of four grant recipients sharing a $10-million, three-year project involving nurse practitioners. (CBC)

The province is helping four community groups temporarily employ some nurse practitioners. 

The Alex Community Health Centre in Calgary is part of the $10-million, three-year pilot project.

"This is, to me, a dream," said CEO Shelley Heartwell about the funding. 

Heartwell says the funds will allow the The Alex to hire about three or four new nurse practitioners, offer extended hours and support more clients. 

She says not having to pay the nurse practitioners' salaries will also help her budget for other critical health-care services.

"It'll free up additional dollars that we can potentially now hire a mental health therapist," Heartwell said.

"Because mental-health issues are significant in this city, significant in the client population we work with."

The Alberta Association of Nurse Practitioners has been calling on the province to directly fund more nurse practitioners. As it stands, most clinics must pay a practitioners' salary out of its own budget.

The funding for this three-year trial project will employ about a dozen nurse practitioners alongside registered nurses and licensed practical nurses at the Alex and three other community groups: Pure North S'Energy in Calgary, the Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) and the Boyle McCauley Health Centre in Edmonton.

Alberta's Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne made the announcement Friday at The Alex. 

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