Toronto, Nov. 3, 2010 – Nurse practitioners (NPs) from across the province are gathering in Toronto this week to embrace a new era of health care at the annual Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO) conference.
With the adoption of Bill 179 earlier this year, the once future dream of NPs working to their full scope of practice and abilities has arrived. With the elimination of many barriers to practice such as a limited prescribing authority, NPs are excited at the prospect of making even greater contributions to the health of people across Ontario.
“NPs applaud the McGuinty government’s leadership in accelerating reform by tearing down artificial barriers that limit nurse practitioners working in all sectors of health care,” says Paula Carere, President of NPAO. “We are also excited with the focus on primary care as a centerpiece of a well functioning health-care system. NPs have greatly contributed to improving the public's access to quality care.”
NPAO, an expert group affiliated with RNAO (Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario) congratulates the government for its foresight in opening the first Canadian NP-Led Clinic (2007) and for funding 25 additional ones as part of the solution to ensure every Ontarian has a primary care provider.
Carere says NPs are leading new and innovative approaches that address the key challenges facing the health-care system, including: improving access to health services by providing primary care in community health centres, NP led-clinics and family health teams; reducing wait times in emergency departments; reducing transfers of elderly residents from long-term care homes to hospitals; reducing the length of hospital stays and ensuring patients are ready for discharge from hospital.
NPs are also helping patients and families navigate the health-care system and are working hard to provide health promotion strategies that help prevent chronic diseases before they occur. “They improve the coordination of health services and build strong partnerships with other health-care professionals including physicians, pharmacists, and others. The conference will give us a chance to share our success stories with the Minister of Health,” adds Carere.
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education and decision-making skills to diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries, prescribe medications, and order lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Nurse practitioners are expert health-care providers. Research shows that nurse practitioners provide safe, effective, quality care with patients reporting high satisfaction rates with the care they receive.
“By bringing our knowledge and leadership to health-care teams, nurse practitioners are making sure people get the care they need and deserve, and supporting them across all sectors of health care,” says Michelle Acorn, President-elect of NPAO.
“Every day, we see the positive impact that NPs are having on the health-care system and the communities they serve. Their expert care is benefiting tens of thousands of people across the province,” says David McNeil, RNAO President. He also adds that “expanding access to health care by increasing access to nurse practitioners is something that will benefit everyone in Ontario and this is why we need the McGuinty government to ensure NPs can also fully function and benefit the public and the health system in hospitals and long-term care settings by enabling them to admit, treat, transfer and discharge patients.”
One of the highlights of the conference is an awards ceremony. A number of NPs are being recognized this year for excellence in clinical leadership and chronic disease management and will be receiving bursaries to continue their education. They include:
Sahira Saeed of Toronto
Joy MacPherson of Whitby
Christopher Savard of Hamilton
Kimberly Colapinto of Toronto
Nicola Bryant of Guelph*
Aaron Medd of Thunder Bay
Michelle Clifford-Middel of Barrie
De-Ann Sheppard of Belleville
Catherine Daniels of Toronto
Krista Keilty of Toronto
Tina Hurlock-Chorostecki of London
*receives two awards
• Annual Nurse Practitioner Conference hosted by the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO) and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)
• More than 400 nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses and registered nurses studying to become NPs
• Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Deb Matthews (Friday, November 5, 2010 at 8 a.m.)
• Doubletree by Hilton, Toronto Airport, 655 Dixon Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
• Thursday November 4 – Saturday November 6
The Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO) represents the professional interests of all nurse practitioners in Ontario. NPAO is an expert group of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. NPAO’s mission is to achieve full integration of nurse practitioners to ensure accessible, high quality health care for Ontarians. For more information, check out our web site at www.npao.org 
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 influence decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. Visit our website www.rnao.ca  for more information. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
For more information or to arrange an interview with a nurse practitioner, please contact:
Aaron Medd, Nurse Practitioner, Primary Health Care
NPAO Board, Director of Media and Public Relations
Phone: 807-472-0697 (cellular)
Executive Director, NPAO
Phone: 647-300-6726 (cellular)
Communications Director, RNAO
Phone: 647-406-5605 (cellular) 416-408-5605 (office)