Surrey nurse becomes BC’s first NP clinician scientist
August 9, 2023
SURREY, BC – Nurse practitioner Sarah Crowe (pictured) says she is “extremely excited” to be the first nurse practitioner clinician scientist in B.C. As a clinician scientist, most of her research will focus on making nurse practitioners more visible and recognized.
“I think what it’s going to do is really drive forward the important work that nurse practitioners are doing,” said Crowe, who has been based at Surrey Memorial Hospital since the start of her nursing career in 2001.
She said the hope is also that healthcare decision-makers will understand the benefits of having a nurse practitioner on their team. Nurse practitioners (NP) are trained first as Registered Nurses (RN). In B.C., they must be RN for a minimum of three years before they can apply for an NP program.
Nurse practitioners can diagnose, treat and care for a variety of different ailments, said Crowe. “So from birth to death NPs can be a part of the care.”
Crowe added that nurse practitioners often have more time to spend with a patient. This is valuable when working with people with complex medical issues. She said having the time to connect with them makes a difference.
“To really let them be heard and to figure out what’s the best course of action for them,” Crowe said. “A lot of nurse practitioners and myself included, work with some really interesting but also vulnerable populations who don’t always get the opportunity to be heard and I think it’s a great way to really highlight and to give a voice to groups that don’t always get a say.”
She will spend 60 percent of her work time dedicated to research in Fraser Health and the remaining in clinical practice in Surrey Memorial Hospital ICU.
Crowe said her experience as a registered nurse in critical care gives her a unique perspective to be able to help healthcare workers and patients in the ICU. “I think probably the biggest compliment I’ve ever been given was just thank you for making me feel like a person again,” Crowe said.
“So many times, a lot of patients who live with so much complexity and a lot of technology and equipment attached to them, the person under that gets lost sometimes,” she added.
“So, really being able to connect with them as a person and appreciate their experiences and their lived experience of the healthcare system, I think has been powerful and to just to be able to have them acknowledged that even if we don’t actually change a lot for them, just being heard and seen as a person has been very impactful.”
Kate Keetch, the director of the Department of Evaluation and Research Services for Fraser Health, said Crowe’s work shows the value of nurse practitioners and the positive impact research has on bettering health services.
“I’m very proud of her and her impressive accomplishment in being Fraser Health’s first nurse practitioner clinician scientist,” Keetch stated in a post on Fraser Health’s website.
“The establishment of this position highlights the importance of embedding research into care.”