Nelly D. Oelke RN, PhD

Associate Professor
School of Nursing
UBC Okanagan

Please describe your most important contribution(s) to primary care research
I am a health services researcher and uses mixed methods to conduct research in primary health care. My primary areas of focus include:

  1. Integrated health systems and services delivery
    • Collaborative development of key principles for integrated health systems
    • Measurement of integration in health systems
    • Working with the Health Standards Organization (national level) to develop a standard for integrated health systems
  2. Primary care teams
    • Optimizing role of nurses in primary care teams
    • Facilitating integrated health services delivery through teams (policy analysis)
    • Primary care teams in rural settings
  3. Community-based mental health services and supports for adults 50 and over in rural communities in the southern interior of BC
    • Linkages between primary care and community-based services and supports

Please describe your current work or upcoming research projects related to primary care

  1. Facilitating integration through primary health care teams – funded by CIHR, MSFHR, and UBC Okanagan – is completing a policy analysis of provincial and regional level policies related to primary health care teams and integration across 4 provinces in Canada (BC, AB, ON, and QC). Phase 2 of the project has been initiated and focuses on patient/caregiver engagement in policy development, implementation, and evaluation.
  2. Understanding rural health services delivery, with a focus on interprofessional collaborative practice, in two rural communities in the southern interior of BC – funded by RCCbc. We are completing the final components of the study along with KT products.
  3. Continued work in the area of mental health in rural communities

What are the key messages from your primary care research to share with other stakeholders (e.g. clinicians, policymakers, patients)?

  • Importance of patient/caregiver engagement in developing, implementing and evaluating policy and strategic directions on primary healthcare teams at all levels
  • Primary health care teams are essential in improving care for patients with complex needs
  • Lack of direction on composition of teams; remuneration models need to be addressed
  • Electronic health records (EHRs) are essential to the delivery of team-based care; infrastructure and support varies for EHRs
  • Performance measurement on teams and integration need significant attention
  • Access to care in rural communities continues to be an issue
  • Interprofessional collaborative practice strongly supported and required in rural communities to address population needs