Nurse practitioners (NPs) are RNs with advanced education and decision-making skills in assessment, diagnosis and health-care management. They have legislative authority to treat common illnesses and injuries, write prescriptions, order lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests.
Funding for the Sudbury District Nurse Practitioner Clinics was announced by the Ontario government last November. The clinic currently employs four nurse practitioners, support staff and physician partners. Within the next year, services will be expanded to include a dietician and a social worker. The main clinic will operate out of Sudbury, with satellite locations in Dowling and Chapleau. Patient care in Chapleau began in July, while the Sudbury site opened its doors to patients earlier this month.
"I want to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make this historic
event possible. This is a great day for the people of Sudbury," says Ontario
Premier Dalton McGuinty. "For the past four years, our government has been
proud to work with the RNAO to improve our public health-care system, and this
is one more way that, working together, we're getting results for Ontario families."
In addition to vital government support, RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun says the clinic could not have become a reality without the passion and perseverance of RNAO members Marilyn Butcher and Roberta Heale, two nurse practitioners from Sudbury. They were spurred into action after seeing so many of their neighbours crowd into walk-in clinics and emergency rooms because of a severe shortage of primary health-care practitioners in the area. Meanwhile, their NP colleagues were leaving the area to find jobs, or they were underemployed.
“Marilyn and Roberta’s efforts are a testament to the accomplishments that can be achieved when nurses speak out for their communities,” says Grinspun. “Nurses all over the province see what their patients need to live full, healthy lives. When they call out for change, the results mean improvements for communities all across Ontario,” she adds, also crediting the McGuinty government for listening and responding to the community’s needs.
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.