Nurse practitioner working in drug and alcohol field

CENTRAL Gippsland Health now has its first ever qualified nurse practitioner.

Teresa Strike has been working as an alcohol and other drugs clinical nurse consultant for CGH for five years.

Her study to achieve the title of nurse practitioner has been significant, and CGH said added a unique dimension to the services it offers.

Ms Strike will work with people with alcohol and other drug addiction issues for one session a week in the new pharmacotherapy and wellbeing clinic service at Sale Hospital’s consulting suites.

This will also include pregnant women or dependent women wanting to become pregnant.

CGH chief executive Dr Frank Evans said the service would provide holistic support to people with addition issues.

“The pharmacotherapy and wellbeing clinic service is a new service that adds to our existing long-standing alcohol and other drug detox inpatient service,” he said.

Dr Evans said it provided services to assist with assessment and medical management and supervision of clients wishing to reduce, stabilise or cease their problematic use of alcohol or other drugs.

Ms Strike will provide clinical care in the hospital including supporting detox inpatients, offering secondary consultations, and delivering and coordinating residential withdrawal services in the wards.

She will also help establish and deliver the outpatient pharmacotherapy clinic which will offer client consultations providing opioid replacement therapy, prescribing medication for those using opioid-based drugs, providing treatment stability for the vulnerable population who are unable to be managed in the primary care setting and supporting the development of opioid treatment by participating in the extension for community health care outcomes for opioid substitution therapy in Victoria.

CGH nursing director Mandy Pusmucans said in her role as an alcohol and other drugs clinical nurse consultant, Ms Strike practised at an advanced level of clinical nursing knowledge and skills, and had been of great value to patients and staff.

“As well as undertaking a SMART Recovery research project of her own, which is now established within our service, Terrie was commended at a statewide level for the development of alcohol and other drugs pathways and service access for our indigenous population,” Ms Pusmucans said.

“Terrie already has some well-established relationships with patients, local general practitioners and other health professionals, and we can’t wait to see the positive impacts she makes within the community in her new role that she has worked so hard to achieve.”

The Directline 24-hour counselling service will include CGH on its list of pharmacotherapy clinics and the Victorian Pharmacotherapy Area Based Network will help CGH promote this service for the Wellington Shire.

For pharmacotherapy and wellbeing clinic appointments, phone the CGH consulting suites on 5143 8944.

Patients require a referral from their GP.