TORONTO, May 6, 2011 – Politicians from all parties are joining registered nurses across the province to celebrate Nursing Week and experience first-hand the rewards and challenges of the nursing profession. Along with sharing information about their work, nurses are sending a strong message to MPPs that health and health care must remain a top priority during the upcoming provincial election campaign.
The politicians are participating in the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) Take Your MPP to Work initiative. Now in its 11th year, the event gives politicians the chance to see this year’s Nursing Week theme, Nursing – The Health of Our Nation, in practice. Politicians will meet nurses who work in hospitals, in community care, in community health centres, in long-term care homes and in other settings to learn how nurses are using the best evidence to help people get well, prevent disease and promote good health. Nurses will also take the opportunity to explain the impact that issues such as poverty and the environment have on people’s health.
RNAO President David McNeil says the timing of the event couldn’t be better. “With the provincial election set for Oct. 6, this is an opportunity for MPPs and nurses to discuss the most effective ways to create healthier communities,” says McNeil. Nurses will be highlighting recommendations 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.
“Participating in Take Your MPP to Work helps MPPs better understand the key role nurses play in creating vibrant communities,” says Doris Grinspun, RNAO’s Executive Director. She adds that “in addition to reinforcing the importance of preserving and enhancing Medicare, nurses will underscore the importance of improving access to nursing services and the need to hire thousands of additional RNs we know we still need.”
Highlights of Take Your MPP to Work include:
•The Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, will be in London on May 13 to spend the morning with a nurse who provides community care
•Progressive Conservative Deputy Leader and Health Critic Christine Elliott will attend a home care visit with Saint Elizabeth in Toronto on Thursday, May 12 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. with RNAO representative Nancy Lefebre
•New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath will tour Regent Park Community Health Centre in Toronto and meet with Executive Director Sheila Braidek and nurses, including RNAO representatives Laura Hanson and Anne Egger on Wednesday, May 11 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
•France Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt and NDP Critic for Health and Long-Term Care and Health Promotion, will tour Villa St. Gabriel long-term care home in Chelmsford with RNAO representative Gloria Richer
More than 40 other MPPs will join RNs during their rounds. A complete list of all the visits, which will be updated throughout Nursing Week (May 9-15), can be found on RNAO’s website: http://nursingweek.rnao.ca/media .
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated 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 report Creating Vibrant Communities: RNAO’s Challenge to Ontario’s Political Parties, 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 .
For more information, or if you have any questions about the times or dates for any of these visits, please contact:
Director of Communications, RNAO
Cell: 647-406-5605; Office: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209