TORONTO, April 22, 2009 – Ontario RNs are gathering this week to send a message that the government must live up to its commitment to hire 9,000 additional nurses by 2011 to ensure the public has adequate access to care.
“The 900 nurses the government funded in this March’s budget are not enough to meet its commitment and it leaves nurses straining to provide the care patients need and deserve,” says Wendy Fucile, President of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). “We need 3,000 nurses this year to meet the public’s immediate need for care. Nurses bring the knowledge, compassion, advocacy and effort that are central to building and maintaining a strong health-care system, including programs and measures to keep people healthy in the first place.”
More than 600 RNAO members will voice those ideas this week when they gather for the association’s 84th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Markham. This year’s theme, “Nurses: Advocating for you. Everywhere. Everyday.” highlights the efforts RNs across the province make on behalf of the people they serve. Their advocacy will continue during the meeting, when they will have an opportunity to hear Premier Dalton McGuinty, Health Minister David Caplan, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Progressive Conservative Health Critic Elizabeth Witmer provide their perspectives on nursing, health and health-care issues.
At the AGM, members will debate and vote on several resolutions. They include a call to continue to urge government to improve access to universal, regulated affordable childcare as a key pillar of Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy since it will allow more parents to go to work knowing their children are well looked after. Also on the floor will be a resolution to lobby government to adopt best practice guidelines for hospital design and construction.
“Our members are showing active leadership by speaking out on important issues that affect everyone in Ontario,” says Doris Grinspun RNAO’s Executive Director. “Nurses’ clinical expertise and knowledge of the health-care system makes them keenly aware of the links between government policies and people’s real lives. Nurses want to see that the public’s needs, as well as their own, are answered.”
The annual meeting is also a chance to celebrate the work nurses are doing in their clinical practice to improve care, despite the nursing shortage. On Thursday evening, the association will officially designate 12 health-care organizations as Best Practice Spotlight Organizations (BPSO). These organizations recently completed a three-year partnership with RNAO to implement and evaluate a series of RNAO’s 39 internationally recognized best practice guidelines that give nurses the best available evidence to improve patient care. For instance, the Hospital for Sick Children has used a pain management guideline to help children cope with painful or invasive procedures.
“The nurses at these organizations are doing pioneering work,” Fucile says. “Achieving a BPSO designation recognizes their commitment to sharing their experience and expertise with other health-care organizations who are interested in implementing RNAO’s guidelines.”
RNAO’s 84th annual general meeting opens tomorrow evening, April 23, and continues through to Saturday, April 25 at the Hilton Suites Toronto/Markham Conference Centre, 8500 Warden Ave. in Markham, Ontario.
Thursday, April 23, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Opening ceremonies featuring remarks from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Progressive Conservative Health Critic Elizabeth Witmer.
Twelve health-care organizations will be designated as Best Practice Spotlight Organizations. They are: Cambridge Memorial Hospital; Chatham-Kent Health Alliance; Community Care Access Centre Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant; Extendicare York, a long-term care facility in Sudbury; Hamilton Health Sciences; The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto; Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital, Windsor; London Health Sciences Centre; Niagara Region Public Health Department; The Ottawa Hospital; St. Joseph's Health Care, London; St. Joseph's Health Care, Hamilton.
Friday, April 24, 8:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
At 9:10 a.m., members will hear from David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
At 2:30 p.m., Premier Dalton McGuinty will address the membership.
To view the annual meeting’s full agenda, visit www.RNAO.org
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.
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