What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?
Many may not be familiar with the role of nurse practitioners and what healthcare they are qualified and legally authorised to provide patients.
With their blend of nursing and medicine nurse practitioners are highly skilled and experienced clinicians in providing quality healthcare. They are authorised to practice well beyond the level of a registered nurse. Through a formal education process of advanced post graduate studies, clinical training and experience over multiple years, nurse practitioners have had to demonstrate their competency in a separate scope of practice laid out by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.
Complimenting The Palms healthcare team, nurse practitioners are a great resource and a valuable addition. They work autonomously as well as collaboratively within the general practice team; and the wider multidisciplinary teams. Their broad nursing experience gives them the flexibility to work across different healthcare settings, including Urgent Care.
They have the knowledge and skills to assess patients, order and interpret diagnostic investigations, diagnose and treat patients’ common and complex conditions. Nurse practitioners have the same broad prescribing authority as doctors and therefore prescribe evidence-based medicines. They refer patients to specialists for complexities that are beyond primary health capability; and can admit and discharge patients from hospital and other healthcare services.
Nurse practitioners have their own enrolled patient population cohort. As a result, patients will have a greater choice of skilled healthcare providers, shorter wait times for an appointment; and provision of continuity of care.
For further information on the Nurse Practitioner role please visit:
NP Debbie Leach
Debbie is an experienced New Zealand Nurse Practitioner [NP] and a Fellow of the College of Nurses. In her NP role, Debbie has a focus on primary health care across the lifespan. In addition, Debbie works with the Public Health Organisation and is a member on the Acute and Elective Specialist Services cluster at Midcentral DHB aiming to improve healthcare access and healthcare of underserved populations.
Debbie has a Clinical Master’s degree in Nursing. With her 35 years of nursing experience traversing diverse health settings, Debbie has secured employment opportunities in politically and logistically challenging environments including South Africa, Botswana, Mali, Angola, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore. Debbie also volunteers, serving on the International Council of Nurses as the Chair for the Practice Subgroup of the ICN Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurse Network [NP/APNN]. Currently, her focus is mentoring a faculty in a developing country to develop their nurses to NP/APNN.
Debbie enjoys spending quality time with her wonderful family, hiking, beach-time and travelling when possible.