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More help for health care in Leader this fall

By Chester Jaster Thursday, July 29, 2010

Leader residents will notice an increase in health-care services in the near future. The Cypress Health Region has hired Shannon Chernoff to be a second nurse practitioner for the Leader area, although she won’t start practising in the community until October.

Chernoff, who graduated from the University of Saskatchewan and has spent her nursing career in Saskatoon, will join the health region in August and will go through an orientation process before she joins Dr. Monga-N’Dimo Palangi and NP Mikki Millar in Leader.

“We’ll be having her actually shadow our nurse practitioners in a variety of communities and get a good sense of our region and understand the geography that we deal with, the different kinds of clients and patients our nurse practitioners are working with and the different physicians in our region as well,” said Beth Vachon, the health region’s interim CEO.

“We want to give her that solid opportunity to really get a good sense of working with all of our nurse practitioners or a number of them just so that she has that opportunity
to observe and work beside a few people.”

Although Chernoff’s arrival should improve the day-to-day health care in the community, as she will be able to see patients at the clinic, it will not impact when the hospital becomes fully operational again.

The hospital has not had acute admissions and emergency outpatient services since
two doctors left Leader on May 31. Nurse practitioners are not allowed to admit patients to hospitals and if they do take a call at a hospital, they must have a physician available to assist them. Leader currently only has one doctor in Palangi, although it’s waiting for a second doctor — Mohd.Enanul Hoque — to arrive through immigration.

Adding a new nurse practitioner will, however, allow more patients to get appointments at the Leader Medical Clinic, which is currently only open from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. The health region is looking at possibly expanding those hours with the addition of a second NP.

“That’s something I think we would definitely be interested in looking at is advanced access into different hours,” said Vachon. “We will be assessing that and looking at all those opportunities that we could offer just a better level of service to Leader while we’re looking for more physicians.”

Leader won’t be Chernoff’s last stop. Her position is temporary and is being funded by the money that would go to pay for a third physician in Leader. As a result, she will remain in the community until a third physician is found and arrives in Leader.

There is a little risk in this process as the physician could choose to leave after receiving its Clinicians’ Assessment and Professional Enhancement (CAPE) exam results, like Dr. Jayanath Ratnayake did in Maple Creek earlier this year.

Vachon, however, said Chernoff is aware the position is temporary and that she’s fine with that.

“Her home and her life is in Saskatoon,” said Vachon. “She’s aware this is a good opportunity for her to gain experience as a nurse practitioner, but it also serves our needs right now in Leader, so it’s really kind of a good situation for both of us, her and us.”


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