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:
For the full listing of events, please visit www.rnao.ca. 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 www.rnao.ca) 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.