Nurse-Practitioners – Anesthesia (NP-A) are members of the Anesthesia Care Team (ACT). Their role is to provide pre- and post-operative care to patients. UHN has taken a pioneering role in developing this role.
NP-As hold a Master's degree. They are Nurse Practitioners with graduate nursing competencies and have undergone further didactic and clinical training through the
University of Toronto's Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing.
Staff anesthesiologists in the Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management were closely involved in the design and subsequent didactic and clinical teaching in the program.
As a graduate of the first cohort of the program, Jiao Jiang is now an active member of the Acute Pain Service at Toronto General Hospital and also the course facilitator for the Essential Skills of Anesthesia for Nurse Practitioners, one of the required courses at the Bloomberg Faculty.
Advances in anesthesia and surgery mean that more complex procedures are being offered to a wider range of patients who are older or more seriously ill.
While more sophisticated monitoring devices, anesthetic equipment and tailored anesthetic plans can address the challenges that these patients present during an operation, this is not the whole story. In order to ensure that patients benefit most from their treatment, it is also vital to optimize both their pre-operative and their post-operative care.
Detailed preoperative assessment and management of other medical conditions means that when a patient arrives in the operating room, he or she is in the best possible condition to meet the challenges of the operation. Meticulous attention to detail in the post-operative period, especially optimal pain control, can help avoid complications and speed up recovery.
Since the role of an NP-A is relatively new, its full potential within ACT is still being explored. As the role evolves, individuals with a strong background in perioperative care will be able to identify specific opportunities within the areas of patient care, patient and family education, and coordination of services, where the NP-A may be able to contribute to improved outcomes, patient satisfaction and access to care.