Happy Nursing Week Shauna Archer - Island Health Nurse Practitioner

Posted on: May 9, 2023

Collaborating in a multi-disciplinary team – Shauna Archer

A multi-disciplinary team approach to providing healthcare can broaden the quality of care available to clients and draw on the strength of each team member to achieve successful patient outcomes. Shauna Archer is a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and member of an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team in Victoria to care for vulnerable people with significantShauna Archer.png mental health and substance use issues. 

“ACT teams provide support and treatment for patients with serious mental illnesses and often concurrent substance use disorders to help them recover and live well in the community,” she said. “Our team is made up of physicians, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, police and probation officers, substance use and mental health specialists, and peer support workers. Most of the clients we see have gone without health services for a long time, and haven’t been able to independently navigate typical care pathways within our healthcare system.  Often, their care needs extend beyond what is available within traditional community mental health or rehabilitation programs.”

Archer began her career as a registered nurse working in a post-surgical area and also worked in ophthalmology, corrections and geriatrics before she found her calling working as a primary care provider within community mental health. She wanted to expand her scope and skillset so she could diagnose and treat a patient’s physical health issues, as well as prescribe medicine, therapeutic interventions, and referrals to specialists, so she returned to school for the additional two-year masters degree nurse practitioner program.  She also completed a fellowship with the BC Centre on Substance Use to provide treatment of substance use disorders. 

“I have a passion for working with underserved patients with mental illness and histories of trauma, some of whom have co-existing substance use disorders and mistrust of the healthcare system,” she said. “It is extremely satisfying to develop relationships with our clients and watch them engage with our multi-disciplinary team and take even the tiniest steps to improve their health.”