TORONTO, June 3, 2004 – The government’s announcement today of $50 million in funding to retain new nursing graduates and to make it easier for senior RNs to provide mentorship is excellent news, especially for the more than 3,000 new RNs joining the profession this summer.
“We wholeheartedly applaud Premier McGuinty and Minister Smitherman for their clear commitment to nursing,” said Joan Lesmond, president of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO). “Government announced today a significant package for nursing and we look forward to working out the details with Minister Smitherman.”
“Today’s announcement will ensure new nursing graduates practise in Ontario supported by the expertise of their senior counterparts,” said RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun. The province is poised to lose 6,000 RNs to retirement or death in 2004, and we cannot afford to lose a single RN, she added.
While the latest statistics reveal a slight increase in the number of RNs working full-time, 42 per cent of all working RNs do not have full-time employment and for many, this is not by choice. “This overreliance on part-time and casual work is a threat to safe and quality patient care and leaves nurses with no choice but to look to the U.S. or other provinces for full-time employment. Today’s announcement will go along way to stem that tide,” said Lesmond.
“RNAO is pleased with the government’s investment to help hospitals and long-term care facilities retain the expertise of more RNs, creating a win-win situation for novice nurses and the public,” said Grinspun.
The association also praises the government for its investment in clinical simulation for collaborative nursing programs. This will help nurses and nursing students make the most of clinical placements.
“RNAO will continue to work with government, employers, and
nurses to ensure we retain as many RNs as possible and integrate
our new graduates into the workforce,” said Lesmond. “It
is vital that we put in place the conditions and supports that will
allow nurses to continue to give the best of their knowledge, skill
and compassion to the people of Ontario.” The public and nurses
deserve nothing less, she added.
“The Liberal Party’s election platform gave nurses renewed hope with its explicit promise to hire 8,000 new nurses and bring the proportion of RNs working full-time to 70 per cent,” said Grinspun. “And today’s announcement is another positive signal that government is committed to meeting these targets.”
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.