BC-CfE releases new nurse practitioner course for treatment for people living with HIV

[From BC-CfE Forecast Newsletter, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, June 2020]

The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) clinical education team has a long tradition of working with BC’s nurses, supporting the training of BC nurse practitioners (NPs) for HIV prevention. Now, new to NPs and the BC-CfE, is the addition of a training program that will provide unique educational opportunities to NPs to achieve the required proficiencies to initiate and monitor antiretroviral therapy (ART) for people living with HIV (PLWH) in BC.

This Tier 2 program is provided in addition to the existing Tier 1 NP training program for HIV prevention (PEP and PrEP). The BC-CfE recognized NPs have always been at the forefront of managing the primary care of PLWH, particularly in underserved areas of the province where access to family physicians or an HIV specialist is limited. In response to the BC College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP) request, the BC-CfE developed a formal training program which provides an avenue for NPs to be able to prescribe ART while ensuring specific competencies are reached. This partnership between the BCCNP and the BC-CfE led to the innovative program.

The NP Training Program gives credence to the important role that NPs have played over the years in caring for people living with HIV. It also provides further support to the BC-CfE’s mandate to promote Treatment as Prevention®. We have already witnessed great successes in our Tier 1 program. During our first 13-month observation period, 21 NPs achieved prescribing qualifications for PEP and PrEP. As a result, there was a marked increase of unique clients enrolled for PrEP across the province. We anticipate the same success with Tier 2 as it will build capacity for PLWH to access timely ART and quality of care. We are confident that building the capacity of NPs, via the NP Training Program, to prescribe PEP, PrEP and ART, will make a positive contribution toTreatment as Prevention® in BC.

Read the full newsletter here.