TORONTO, Jan. 4, 2007
– The provincial government’s track record in creating new nursing jobs is slowing down according to statistics released this week by the College of Nurses of Ontario. While the first year of its mandate saw an increase of almost 3,500 RNs, the number of RNs only increased by 643 in the second year of the government’s mandate says the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).
“Progress has been made, but if the government wants to meet its stated election commitment to hire 8,000 nurses, it has to redouble its efforts to serve the needs of a growing and aging population,” says Mary Ferguson-Paré, president of RNAO.
Although the data show the government still has work to do, there is one very important improvement. The share of RNs working full-time rose to 61.6 per cent from 60 per cent in the previous year. This is tangible progress towards the government’s commitment to 70 per cent full-time employment for nurses. “This is essential to providing continuity of care and improving health outcomes for patients,” adds Ferguson-Paré.
RNAO’s executive director Doris Grinspun says increasing nursing employment is crucial to the government’s overall strategy to strengthen health care. “If the government wants to increase access to primary health care, reduce wait times, discharge patients safely from hospital to their homes, support healthy aging, and respond adequately to health emergencies, it must hire more nurses right away,” says Grinspun. “We will be looking for conditional funding in the upcoming budget. We know that targeted investment would pick up the pace of progress,” adds Grinspun.
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.