Amherstburg's Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic Set To Open

Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics, like the one opening in Amherstburg Monday, offer many of the benefits of a family doctor plus a range of other services devoted to health management and preventive care.

An examination room in Amherstburg's Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic

Nurse practitioners serve as a patient’s primary health care provider. They can write prescriptions, provide immunizations, conduct physical exams, perform advanced procedures, order X-rays, ultrasounds, and lab tests. They can check you out and fix you up.

They can’t order CTs, MRIs or nuclear medicine procedures, which leaves lots of things they can do. Nurse practitioners can focus on mental wellness, nutrition, smoking cessation and the prevention of falls and injuries. They can also help manage chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, asthma and heart disease.

Amherstburg is going to have three nurse practitioners when the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic finally opens Monday morning in the former St. Bernard School at 320 Richmond Street. We’re also going to have a registered practical nurse, a social worker, a dietitian and a health promoter.

The clinic is not a walk-in clinic. Patients need to register and, once they do, an emphasis is placed on education, health management and preventive care. Each nurse practitioner can accommodate 800 patients, so the new clinic should be able to service 2,400 patients.

The clinic will be soon joined in the former school by ACS Amherstburg and the entire school, including a gymnasium, will gradually open up for other tenants and programming as the renovations continue.

“The clinic is beautiful. It’s got everything we need. We are really looking forward to everybody else coming into the building to make it a true health hub,” said Pauline Gemmell, Executive Director of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic and an Amherstburg resident.

“A lot of energy went into this and a lot of work. The Town has done a great job. I thank the Mayor and Council and the CAO, John Miceli, on all the hard work. They made it a lot easier. That’s for sure.”

Work crews were adding the finishing touches and doing some last-minute electrical work Friday and the clinic should be ready to roll come Monday morning. There are four examination rooms and one procedure room. There’s also a big kitchen area, where nutritional programming could potentially take place.An electrician works on some wires

Gemmell said they’ll have a health promoter who can identify needs specific to Amherstburg residents and develop programming around those needs. I thought immediately of nutrition, and a healthy eating seminar built around weight loss issues related to french fries and Frosties. 😀

Gemmell encouraged town residents to come out and see the new clinic. The entrance to the clinic is off Richmond, between Victoria and Fryer. There are parking spaces across the street. The building is only partially occupied and is bursting with potential.

“Come out and see the building,” said Gemmell. “It’s getting better every day.”

The Town bought the school building and surrounding property in 2018 from the Catholic School Board for $550,000. The school closed in 2016.

My council colleagues and I voted in April to sell about three acres on the eastern edge of the property for the development of a long-term care home that could create as many as 80 full-time direct jobs, 205 spinoff jobs and annual property taxes in the neighbourhood of $300,000.

The sale is conditional on the buyer obtaining the necessary approvals and provincial licensing to operate a 128-160 bed facility.

The reception area in Amherstburg's new Nurse Practitioner-Led clinic

The sign outside the former St. Bernard School announcing the opening of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner Clinic