Connecting with patients most rewarding for nurse practitioner Sherry Katz
As a nurse practitioner (NP) at Vancouver Coastal Health’s Anne Vogel Clinic in Richmond, Sherry Katz works with a team of physicians, occupational therapists, social workers and support staff. Together they provide assessment, treatment and primary care to people dealing with opiate dependence using a harm reduction approach.
“My practice includes prescribing buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). Hopefully by the end of 2017, methadone prescribing will be part of the nurse practitioner scope and well,” said Sherry.
Sherry says the most rewarding part of her job is making connections with patients, building a therapeutic relationship and assisting them in meeting their health goals.
Sherry expects that the NP role and scope will continue to expand and improve access to care to better meet the health care needs of all British Columbians.
Sherry is excited about a pending change in scope that would allow NPs to prescribe methadone. This will allow practitioners like Sherry to better help clients. She says the challenge is the time it takes for law, policy, and organizational factors to be modified so that implementation can occur.
NPs provide comprehensive high quality care and Sherry’s role is a vital part of access to patient centred care. Patient centered means people are the drivers of their care and NPs provide guidance, support and education.
Sherry has been applying her extensive knowledge and experience in a variety of mental health and substance use programs at VCH since 2002 and started her journey to becoming an NP with her nursing career as a psychiatric nurse in 1998. She completed her Bachelor in Health Sciences, Psychiatric Nursing in 2002.
“I was intrigued by the opportunity for advanced practice nursing. I heard about the nurse practitioner program being launched in BC. I found out I would need to be an RN in order to apply so I completed my RN diploma in 2004 and then the University of Victoria Nurse Practitioner program in 2009,” said Sherry.
Sherry also completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2015 from Oregon Health and Sciences University.
“I enjoy working with people, I like autonomous work and I am a life-long learner. This was the perfect career as it encompasses all of these.”
Facts about nurse practitioners (NPs):
- NPs prescribe medications including controlled ones like morphine and Suboxone ®
- NPs practice in both primary and acute care settings
- NPs are autonomous practitioners (do not require physician supervision)
- NPs work shifts including evenings, weekends and on-call groups
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