Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNs take politicians on the job, asking them to Protect your health. Protect nurses now!

During Nursing Week (May 9-15) – and beyond

TORONTO, May 9, 2005 – Federal and provincial cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants, MPPs, MPs, and Premier Dalton McGuinty are about to walk a mile in the shoes of registered nurses from across Ontario as part of an annual Nursing Week initiative called Take Your MPP to Work, introduced five years ago by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).

During this year’s Nursing Week, May 9 to 15, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman, Conservative Leader John Tory, NDP Leader Howard Hampton, and Minister of State (Public Health) Carolyn Bennett are among the 45 politicians who will see first-hand how nurses use their knowledge, skill, and passion for their profession to help improve the health of Ontarians.

RNs will share the realities and rewards of their working worlds during educational, interactive visits to more than 40 sites, including hospitals, long-term care, rehabilitation facilities, community care access centres, home-care agencies, and primary-care clinics across Ontario. The events will profile RNs interacting with patients and people in their care in public health units, homeless shelters, inpatient and outpatient neurological rehab units, ICUs, prisons, homes and shelters for marginalized populations and troubled youth, facilities for the elderly, and much more.

“These events help politicians see first hand the inextricable link between nursing and quality health care for the public,” says RNAO president Joan Lesmond. “Nurses get a chance to show their clinical expertise and explain what it means to work in today’s challenging health-care environments. They will also suggest ways to improve those environments – and patient care.”

Adds RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun: “Nurses have always advocated for the people in their care; they now understand that to do that, they must also advocate for changes to the system in which they work. Nurses are becoming vocal, using their voice and privileged position with patients to help inform and influence decisions at the political and legislative levels.”

The schedule for Take your MPP to Work includes:

  • Monday, May 9, 11:00 a.m., NDP Leader Howard Hampton joins RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun and a VON community health nurse for a home visit at 279 Jarvis St, apartment 407.
  • Tuesday, May 10, 8:00 a.m., NDP Leader Howard Hampton joins RNAO president Joan Lesmond, Furniture Bank executive director Penny Lamy, and street nurse Cathy Crowe for a tour of Furniture Bank, a resource that helps individuals and families furnish their first permanent housing as they make the transition from hostels/shelters to independent living. He will also view plans for Madison Station, 60-70 units of affordable housing and an on-the-job training centre located directly above Furniture Bank. 200 Madison Ave (Spadina and Dupont) Toronto.
  • Tuesday, May 10, 9:00 a.m., Premier Dalton McGuinty will join RNAO president Joan Lesmond, Princess Margaret Hospital Director of Nursing Karen Gayman and University Health Network President and CEO Tom Closson. The event will include a tour of 17th floor nursing units, discussions with PMH nursing staff, including two new graduates, and a demonstration of a safe needlestick to increase workplace safety. Discussions will focus on RNAO's Best Practice Guidelines Project, and UHN's commitment for more full-time work for nurses, and safer working environment. Princess Margaret Hospital, Murray Street Entrance, 610 University Avenue, Toronto.
  • Tuesday, May 10, 9:00 a.m., Carolyn Bennett, Minister of State (Public Health) and Liberal MP for St. Paul’s will join RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun, RNAO board representative for Ottawa Carmen Rodrigue and public health nurse Jane Brownrigg, Ottawa Public Health. The tour will highlight the many roles that public health nurses play in health promotion and disease prevention, including preventing injury, encouraging physical activity and mother and baby wellness, discouraging smoking and unsafe sexual health practices. Ottawa Public Health, 100 Constellation Cres., Ottawa.
  • Wednesday, May 11, 9:00 a.m., George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and MPP for Toronto Centre-Rosedale, will join Joan Lesmond, RNAO President, Anne-Marie Malek, Vice-President & Chief Nursing Executive, West Park Healthcare Centre, Barry Monaghan, President & CEO, and Bill Bain, Chair, Board of Directors to tour the facility’s rehabilitation service and neuro rehabilitation to discuss acuity levels, nurse-patient ratios, and new lifts purchased with MOHLTC funding. West Park Healthcare Centre, 82 Buttonwood Ave., Toronto.
  • Thursday, May 12, 9:00 a.m., John Tory, PC Leader and MPP for Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, will join Joan Lesmond, President, RNAO, and Chief Nursing Executive/Director Professional Practice, Casey House. 9 Huntley St., Toronto.
In addition to these events, RNAO members from across the province have invited scores of MPPs and MPs to see the diverse reach and range of nurses’ work in their home ridings.

For the full listing of events, please visit During these meetings, RNs will highlight the accomplishment and contributions of RNs – including the development of RNAO’s groundbreaking nursing best practice guidelines which are being used and referenced around the world. They will also discuss problems that nurses and politicians must address together, such as the need for further progress on full-time work for RNs, healthier work environments and better patient-nurse ratios, and protection of our not-for-profit health-care system in hospitals, home care and long-term care.

As part of RNAO’s public campaign, the association is releasing two radio spots highlighting the close connection between better health and more nurses. (To hear the spots, go to The public may also spot RNAO’s Nursing Week theme, Protect your health. Protect Nurses Now!, on licence plates across the province or read about the issues behind the theme in several special sections in community and national newspapers.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.


For more information, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext.209
Cell: 647-406-5605