Nurse Practitioner at The Ottawa Mission Primary Care Clinic
A good number of people living in shelters, or on the street, don’t have a family doctor or access to a primary care provider. Before The Ottawa Mission opened a Primary Care Medical Clinic in 2007, those who were homeless had to get themselves to a hospital emergency room if they were sick and needed help.
For someone dealing with addiction or mental illness, that often didn’t happen, and people often became more ill. Today, thanks to a partnership with Ottawa Inner City Health, there are three Nurse Practitioners at The Mission’s Primary Care Clinic who share weekdays and weekend mornings.
As well, two part-time physicians provide consultation services and see higher needs clients. Carrie Whittley is a Nurse Practitioner who has been part of the Mission’s clinic team for 6 years. On any given day, she sees an average of 12 patients with a wide variety of health issues – everything from chest infections to open flesh wounds. “I have worked in other primary care clinics and have left to work here full time.
There is nowhere better to connect with clients who have multiple conditions and are so in need of quality primary care. Trust is a big issue with this population, but once you have gained it there is a reliable therapeutic relationship and they feel able to come to you with all of their health concerns.”