Nurses launch public awareness campaign to promote the profession
TORONTO, May 9, 2008 – With thousands of nurses eligible to retire in the next decade, Ontario nurses will be hard pressed to meet the public’s health-care needs unless efforts are made to retain nurses at work and draw more people into the profession.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), in collaboration with the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO), and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, will launch a public awareness campaign during National Nursing Week (May 12-18th) to convince more people that nursing is the best career choice. More than 1,200 posters will be displayed on Toronto transit subway trains and buses, GO trains and billboards all across Ontario.
Advertisements will also be placed in more than 100 Ontario newspapers. The posters feature real nurses who work with people from the cradle to the grave. The message is simple: whether in public health, primary care, hospitals, home care, rehabilitation or palliative care, nursing offers a world of possibilities.
RNAO President Wendy Fucile says the campaign is an opportunity to show people how much you can do as a nurse. “The richness of opportunity within nursing is extraordinary,” she says. “Throughout my 30-year career, I’ve worked in several different sectors, and in many roles including staff nurse, senior administrator and teacher. I know first-hand that this is a field that offers endless and amazing opportunities.”
The provincial government agrees. “I know I am speaking on behalf of nearly 13 million Ontarians when I say thank you to Ontario’s nurses for the invaluable part they play in health care,” says George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “Nursing is a great career choice for those who want to make a real meaningful difference in people’s lives.”
RPNAO’s Executive Director, Dianne Martin, says the campaign is also an appeal to nurses already in the profession. Given the average age of Ontario’s nursing workforce is 45.9 for RNs and 44.9 for RPNs, Ontario could face a significant shortage unless the province can retain its nurses longer.
“We want all nurses to know that the public values the work that you do,” Martin says. "We need you now more than ever to help keep people healthy, and to care for them when they’re sick.”
RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun agrees, adding she hopes the campaign will also get more members of the public thinking about the critical role nurses play in providing front-line care and shaping policies across the health-care system.
“Everyone has to stop and ask themselves: ‘what would we do without nurses?’” Grinspun says that communities across Ontario are experiencing nursing shortages and the reality is that “we need nurses – and many of them – if we are going to ensure the kind of care that people across this province need, expect and deserve.”
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.
The Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO) is the professional association representing registered practical nurses in Ontario, since 1958. RPNAO is “dedicated to quality driven decisions that enhance professional practical nursing.”