South Okanagan Simillkameen

Welcome to the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice

The South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice is a membership organization, and a place for primary care providers to connect, collaborate and create positive change.

Our Division, which represents primary care providers in the communities of Keremeos, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton, Princeton and Summerland, is a leader in the province when it comes to supporting our full-service physician network, team-based care, long term care, maternity care and many more healthcare improvements — making the South Okanagan Similkameen a great place to practice, and a great place to live.

Feature story from our latest newsletter

Local clinics benefit from integrating nurses into their practices

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White Clinic physicians, staff and nurses recently met with Dr. Michelle Teo to learn more about models of care  that include nurses as part of the team. (Pictured from left back row): Dr. Michelle Teo; Dr. Robin Masson; Sybilla Bartram (office manager), Cecelia McCarthy (LPN); (front row) Joel Shaw (RN), Dr. Marius Snyman, Dr. Greg Selinger and Amanda Clarke (LPN)

The White Clinic in Penticton is one of a growing list of local family practices that are incorporating nurses into their clinics.
"Having nurses incorporated into a family practice under the current fee-for-service model can really increase workplace efficiency, patient access, work/life balance and decrease societal costs," explains Dr. Michelle Teo, who recently gave a presentation to White Clinic staff on the benefits of having nurses in practice.
     “We are finding that we can delegate a lot of tasks that are best suited to the LPN, which not only improves patient care but saves so much physician time that could be better spent on complex issues,” agrees White Clinic physician, Dr. Robin Masson.
LPNs are well qualified to perform many patient care activities such as ear syringing, suture removal, wart treatments, immunizations, and phone call follow-ups.
   LPNs also triage patients, update patient profiles in the EMR, fill out reports, lab reqs, forms and referrals, and can help connect patients to resources in the community. Depending on one's practice, there's lots of flexibility for a clinic's use of an LPN. Having an LPN at the clinic doesn't need to cost the clinic. In fact, it can be cost positive. 
     A recent local Quality Improvement project identified that if an LPN takes 12-15 patient phone calls per day, this alone can be enough to cover the LPN's wages within a family medicine practice.  This cost recovery is possible because each family physician is allowed to bill for 1,500 patient phone calls annually. These calls, as well as other daily billable activities, free up physician time, ease the physician's daily load, allow for better flow, and ultimately create  an easier day.
    Patients welcome the opportunity to see a nurse. "The nurse recognizes me and makes me feel very at home and comfortable," commented a patient during the QI project. "It's a unique and fulfilling opportunity to work alongside a group of doctors, and extremely rewarding to be involved in day-to-day patient care," says White Clinic LPN, Amanda Clarke.
  If you’re interested in finding out more, exploring options for hiring a LPN, or have ideas on optimizing a LPN’s role at a clinic, please contact

To read the full newsletter: 2019 Winter Newsletter