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What is a Nurse Practitioner?

If you’ve used TELUS Health Virtual Care for a virtual medical consult, or visited one of the TELUS Health Care Centres, you’ve probably already connected with one of our nurse practitioners (NPs) — but many Canadians don’t know a lot about what we are and what we can do.

Advanced education 

Nurse practitioners are experienced clinicians with advanced education. Prospective nurse practitioners must first complete a four-year nursing degree and have a minimum of two years of clinical experience as registered nurses (in most jurisdictions), before being eligible for post-graduate nurse practitioner studies. Successful nurse practitioner candidates then complete a simultaneous Masters degree and Graduate Diploma and must pass a certification examination in order to practice. 


Nurse practitioners have the authority to independently assess, diagnose, treat and monitor a wide range of health concerns. As autonomous providers, nurse practitioners can:

  • formulate and communicate diagnoses

  • prescribe and renew medications

  • order and interpret laboratory/diagnostic testing

  • initiate referrals to specialists and other health care providers

While nurse practitioners have the authority to practice independently, they also consult and collaborate with physicians and other health care providers to deliver the best quality care to patients.

Expert Primary Care Practitioners

From managing acute and chronic health conditions, helping prevent illness through cancer and chronic disease screening and promoting health through prenatal and postpartum care, nurse practitioners in virtual primary care have a scope of practice comparable to family physicians, guided by the mission to support patients to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

Some nurse practitioners further specialize to provide care in mental health, pediatrics, travel medicine, obesity, diabetes, etc. The team of nurse practitioners at TELUS Health lean on each other’s specialties to provide the best possible care to their patients in a team-based approach.

We welcome you to explore how our nurse practitioners can help you reach your health goals, through their clinical expertise and holistic approach to primary care.  

The content of this article was reviewed and validated by:  

Camille Lalonde, NP-PHC, IPS-PL, MSN
Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (ON & QC)
Director of Clinical Operations - Virtual Care