Nurse Practitioners bolster IWK hematology/oncology team

Posted by

In the past three years the Hematology Oncology team at the IWK has expanded  from one oncology Nurse Practitioner (NP) to three NPs, with two in oncology and one in hematology.

On the inpatient unit, the addition of NP’s has allowed for improved consistency in care for patients and families who are admitted for extended periods, as well as for those who are admitted regularly for chemotherapy. The current model of care allows NP’s to facilitate the care of those admitted on the ward and their physician colleagues can then focus on triaging referrals, answering calls from other centres, and responding to consultations.

In the clinic, NPs have improved clinical efficiency, allowing for more patients to be seen. Their presence has also meant an expansion of service such as the introduction of a dedicated childhood cancer survivorship program and a multidisciplinary solid tumor follow up clinic.

Meet the Nurse Practitioners that serve Maritime children affected by cancer and/or blood disorders.

Ashley Mowatt is a Pediatric Oncology Nurse Practitioner who has worked as a nurse for 17 years. Her travels have led her to work around the world, including the remote Arctic. After graduating with an NP degree in 2021 Mowatt practiced in a variety of roles from family practice to adult specialty in Nova Scotia. Most of her nursing experience has been at the IWK in pediatric critical care so she is thrilled to return to care for the children and families of the Maritimes.

As an NP Mowatt’s goal is to provide holistic, comprehensive care with an interdisciplinary team to the oncology population. In future she will focus on creating a Solid Tumor Follow up clinic for patients within five years of active treatment. The second of its kind in Canada! Mowatt also participates in research with the IWK Children’s Oncology Group, providing a voice of advance practice nursing to the oncology specialty.

Mary Stuart, photo by Ryan Wilson IWK

Mary Stuart is from Halifax but has spent most of her career at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and Princess Margaret Hospital working in Hematology Oncology. She recently worked for the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) Toronto Adult Survivorship program for pediatric cancer survivors who are over 18 years old at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Stuart is part of a team that will build an Adolescents Young Adults (AYA) Pediatric Cancer Survivorship program in Nova Scotia. This will allow the care team to continue to follow patients after they turn 17 as many pediatric cancer survivors require lifelong tests as a part of follow-up. The program will also help those living in PEI and New Brunswick over age 17 who received treatment at the IWK as well as those without health care providers.

Amanda Bettle photo by Ryan Wilson IWK

Amanda Bettle is the IWK Hematology Nurse Practitioner. In her role she works closely with the hematology multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive care to children with bleeding disorders, benign hematological conditions, and hemoglobinopathies. She independently runs several NP directed clinics weekly and works collaboratively with the hematologist in specialty clinics (Bleeding Disorder, Sickle Cell).

Bettle participates in several research projects to improve the quality of life of children with severe hemophilia and adolescent girls with heavy menstrual bleeding. In her role she has also identified areas for practice change and has built collaborations with pediatric gynecology colleagues. Bettle has also played an active role in establishing monthly education sessions to build knowledge and capacity within the hematology/oncology team.