TORONTO, May 6, 2010 – Politicians will find out what it takes to be a nurse – and why the province needs 9,000 additional nurses - when they visit RNs in hospitals, public health units, primary care clinics, patients’ homes and long-term care homes next week.
The politicians are participating in the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) Take Your MPP to Work initiative. The event, now in its tenth year, gives nurses the chance to bring this year’s Nursing Week theme, Nursing: You can’t live without it, to life. Elected officials will see how public health nurses ensure people stay healthy and protect themselves from disease; how nurses in long-term care homes improve the health and quality of life for their residents; how nurse practitioners in NP-led clinics have opened access to thousands of people who had no primary care; the way RNs in hospitals work with people struggling with acute illnesses; and how RNs’ expertise enables people to receive care in their homes so they can remain there with their loved ones.
RNAO President David McNeil says the event is a chance to showcase nurses’ knowledge, skills and compassion, as well as the demands of their daily work. “Every day, RNs all over this province are providing world class, evidence-based, patient-centred care,” he says. “They are committed to the profession and their patients, but they are stretched to the limit. In order to meet the immediate, ever-growing demand for nursing care, and to prepare for the future, the government must keep its commitment to hire 9,000 additional nurses by 2011.”
RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun says Take Your MPP to Work allows politicians to see the breadth of what nurses are doing across the province and will underscore the urgency of fast-tracking the funding and implementation of the 9,000 additional full-time nursing positions the provincial government has promised. “RNAO is becoming increasingly concerned with experiences shared by RNs across the province about fewer employment opportunities,” says Grinspun. “We are sounding the alarm bell and saying to the government and employers: We must not return to the 90s. Open the doors wide and fully so that RNs, including all our new graduates, remain in Ontario. This is necessary if we are to ensure patients receive the quality of care they deserve.”
Hiring more nurses isn’t the only recommendation that registered nurses have for politicians this Nursing Week. In January 2010, RNAO released a comprehensive set of policy recommendations it wants Ontario’s political parties to adopt as they develop their platforms ahead of the provincial election in October of 2011. The recommendations are contained in a report called Creating Vibrant Communities: RNAO’s Challenge to Ontario’s Political Parties. The recommendations are related to: eliminating poverty; building sustainable, green communities; enhancing Medicare; improving access to nursing services; building a nursing career in Ontario; and strengthening public services.
Highlights of Take Your MPP to Work include:
• Minister of Health and Long-Term Care The Honourable Deb Matthews will tour McCormick Home in London on Monday, May 10 with RN Kerri Gaffney and RNAO representative Kristie Clark.
• Minister of Health and Long-Term Care The Honourable Deb Matthews will tour the Holland Orthopaedic and Arthritic Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, in Toronto on Tuesday, May 11 with RNAO representative Grace Groetzsch.
• Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak will tour Sunnybrook’s Labour and Delivery Unit in Toronto at 76 Grenville Street (Women’s College Hospital) on Wednesday, May 12 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. with RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun and RN Adele Page.
• Progressive Conservative Health Critic Christine Elliott will tour Kensington Place in Toronto on Wednesday, May 12 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. with RNAO President David McNeil.
• New Democratic Party Health and Long-Term Care Critic France Gélinas will tour The Sudbury District Nurse Practitioner Clinics (SDNPC) on Monday, May 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with RNAO President David McNeil, NP Marilyn Butcher and RNAO board member Paul-André Gauthier.
More than 30 other MPPs will join RNs during their rounds. A complete list of all the visits, which will be updated throughout Nursing Week (May 10-16), can be found on RNAO’s website: http://nursingweek.rnao.ca/take-your-mpp-to-work .
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses 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.
For more information about RNAO, including the association’s report, visit our website at www.rnao.ca . You can also check out our Facebook page at www.rnao.ca/facebook  and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rnao .
To arrange an interview, please contact:
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)
158 Pearl Street