NP Andrena McDonald
Primary Healthcare Nurse Practitioner
I am dedicated Primary Healthcare Nurse Practitioner with over 21 years of experience working with a culturally diverse population. I was born in London England and came to Toronto Canada at 16. With the support and encouragement of my mother who is now a retired nurse, I pursued a career in nursing after I completed my general training. My passion and commitment for helping people grew exponentially, and I realized I needed to further my career so I could continue to help people be healthier, so I went back to school and got my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Ryerson University in 2003.
Throughout that time period I enjoyed working in various health care settings and had the pleasure of working with women ,children and babies from marginalized communities it made me realize the barriers that the community faces in trying to navigate the health care system and trying to receive quality care. I realized that if I got more knowledge and skill in this area, I could contribute to reducing these barriers and stigma so I got my nursing certification in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
After years of me working with various, diverse populations within my community, including various other communities such as Immigrants, LGBTQ, Geriatric, Mental Health and Adolescents. I realized that many people were frustrated with their current care and wanted alternative solutions to treat their illness. However, this was not in my scope of practice to treat or diagnose. I then went back to school to gain the opportunity to better serve my community by providing better access to care as well expanding my scope of practice and got my Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification at York University in 2006. It was then when I realized the impact I can make in my community and in my patients’ lives by providing better access and quality care.
Throughout my years in practice I continued to gain experience in different areas of health care, serving people in various health care settings in search for a workplace that used integrative approaches to health care that combined holistic and traditional views of medicine. After some years of searching with no success, I finally took a leap of faith and worked for a clinic that offered a unique and fresh perspective to health care it was a preventive health care approach to medicine it offered a variety of health care services under one roof. I could educate patients on health promotion and illness prevention while having access to health care professionals that had the same goals. We looked at that root cause of the illness sometimes some of my patients could reverse their illness, if they were early in their diagnosis.
It was then that I had an A-HA! moment. This was my calling. This is what I wanted to do!
After some consideration and many conversations with the people around me. I decided to start my own practice. I found that working in the OHIP system is very restrictive for they are working on methods of practice that was created over a century ago. I say this for I had to be a patient in the system due to me having my own personal health journey of being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease within the last 3 years. I became increasingly frustrated with the health system for I ended up seeing several specialists, being prescribed different medications, none of which truly helped. For this reason I tapped into the knowledge I had gained over the years that intertwined traditional and holistic approaches and through diet;starting with your gut and its microbiome. With the use of vitamins in combination with diet and exercise – I have been able to control my debilitating symptoms. So I wanted to share and help my community and the people in it, to do the same for their heath. This was the trigger and the start to NP Health Clinic.
TO BE CONTINUED…