Valerie Jefferd is the first nurse practitioner at the Lake and works out of the Brookside Medical Clinic.

Valerie Jefferd is the first nurse practitioner at the Lake and works out of the Brookside Medical Clinic.

Family nurse practitioner part of Cowichan Lake’s primary care team

Valerie Jefferd: New nurse practitioner works out of Brookside Medical Clinic

There’s a nurse practitioner in town, the first one ever for Lake Cowichan.

Valerie Jefferd — who has her masters degree in nursing— flew in from the Northwest Territories at the end of last year and now works Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., out of Brookside Medical Clinic alongside Dr. Gary Toth.

“I started at the Kaatza Health Unit in December and didn’t start at Brookside until the new year,” explained Jefferd. “I was in the Northwest Territories but I am originally from B.C.”

The nurse practitioner stated she was looking for a new adventure amid her move to Vancouver Island.

“The position was advertised by Island Health and my husband and I were looking to re-locate.”

Jefferd is a member of the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia and is the latest in a recent influx of health care professionals to Cowichan Lake, with Island Health also announcing last week the arrival of two new physicians to Brookside this summer.

She agrees that a nurse practitioner can literally do pretty much anything a doctor can, apart from surgery.

“We work independently. We diagnose, we treat chronic diseases, we determine whether something requires a prescription or not. We’re family primary care providers and do small office procedures, although we don’t deliver babies.”

Not only are nurse practitioners new to Lake Cowichan, they are also relatively new to the province in general, according to Jefferd.

“Nurse practitioners are fairly new to B.C. and they’ve never had a nurse practitioner in Lake Cowichan. We are an independent practice but we can work with various health care providers like doctors and physicians. I’m delighted to be here.”