Ambitious nurse practitioner pursues her passion projects

Nurse practitioners (NP) at the McGill University Health Centre are extremely ambitious. Did you know that one day of their work week is entirely devoted to the pursuit of passion projects that complement their clinical practice? This can include teaching at universities, doing research in order to write peer-reviewed papers, or speaking at conferences. Last week, NP in Adult Cardiac Surgery & Cardiology Amale Ghandour presented at the annual Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO) conference in Toronto, and in so doing, she became the first NP in adult care to represent the MUHC in a national conference. 

Amale spoke about secondary prevention for cardiac surgery patients. Secondary prevention aims to reduce the risk of deterioration in the patient’s condition and the risk of recurrence. When it comes to cardiac patients, there have been many advancements in terms of what medications are considered most suitable. Amale presented these findings in front of an audience of NPs from across the country, alongside a panel of four other NPs working in different parts of Canada.

“Our conclusions are based on important guidelines that were released within the last two years. I spoke about different medications that are most suitable for patients who’ve just come out of cardiac surgery and who also have hypertension, diabetes, or dyslipidemia, which is an imbalance of lipids such as cholesterol.”

Amale says that being part of this panel was an enriching experience for her both professionally and personally.

“It was so gratifying. Very often, we assume that doctors should be the ones speaking in conferences, but as NPs, we have valuable expertise that combines medical and nursing knowledge. Our expertise must be shared too, and speaking at this conference was the beginning of a new a sense of community between NPs at the MUHC and across Canada.”

Invaluable support

What medication should be prescribed to cardiac patients according to the latest evidence? Amale set out to answer this question months ahead of last week’s conference, and it involved much research on her own as well as collaboration with her fellow panelists. However, Amale also highlights the important role that MUHC colleagues and doctors played in her success:

“From the moment I heard about this conference, I was very interested in participating!” exclaims Amale. “I was passionate about doing it and I felt supported by my team right from the beginning. For example, our cardiac surgeons and cardiologists always made time to speak with me whenever I had questions.

“As an NP at the MUHC, you belong to a team that’s eager to see you succeed in all of your endeavours and passion projects. With the help of our nursing directorate and our cardiac surgery team, I have been able to develop protocols to improve patient care, publish a case report with one of our cardiac surgeons, and speak at several wonderful conferences.”

 Panel of NPs from across Canada
This panel of NPs from across Canada met virtually every week in preparation for last week’s conference in Toronto.
Amale Ghandour
“I wanted a better understanding of the reasons why certain medications are prescribed over others. It is a joy to share that knowledge with other NPs.” – Amale Ghandour, NP in Adult Cardiac Surgery & Cardiology