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A nursing perspective to the family doctor crisis in Kings, Annapolis counties

Natalie Dempsey, a nurse at Soldier’s Memorial Hospital in Middleton, has witnessed the effects of the doctor shortage in Kings and Annapolis counties firsthand at work and at home.
Natalie Dempsey, a nurse at Soldier’s Memorial Hospital in Middleton, has witnessed the effects of the doctor shortage in Kings and Annapolis counties firsthand at work and at home. - Submitted

MIDDLETON, NS - Natalie Dempsey, a transitional care unit nurse at Soldier’s Memorial Hospital in Middleton, regularly witnesses the impact of the doctor vacancies within her community firsthand.

“When we discharge, sometimes a lot of these patients don’t have family doctors,” she says.

Read more about the family doctor crisis in Kings, Annapolis counties:

• ‘We shouldn’t have to wonder’: Doctor shortage hits home for Annapolis Valley

More than 6,000 people in Kings and Annapolis counties don’t have family doctors. Meet some of them

• Wolfville doctor on the front lines of physician shortage worried about broken system

• Pharmacists ‘willing and able to help’ with doctor shortage stress

• ‘Recruitment mode for years to come’

The issue has even hit closer to home, with the Middleton resident’s husband only recently being placed with a nurse practitioner after waiting to be placed with a family practice in the Valley for three years.

“I have to take my husband to walk-in clinics half of the time, and some of the time, he couldn’t even be seen within those four hours that the walk-in clinic was open,” said Dempsey.

“Going to the Berwick walk-in clinic and Soldiers’ ER for simple things like a doctor’s note is just a waste of resources and time.”

Dempsey sees nurse practitioners playing a vital role in care delivery as the need for family doctors becomes more pressing.

“They can diagnose, prescribe medications, send out consults,” said Dempsey, who stressed that it was a huge relief to have a nurse practitioner accept her husband as a patient.

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