TORONTO, Sept. 5, 2012 – The head of the province’s top professional nursing association will get a bird’s eye view of how health care is delivered on a remote northern reserve on Wednesday during a visit to Eabametoong First Nation. The Ojibway community (also known as Fort Hope) is located on the shores of Eabamet Lake, approximately 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.
Doris Grinspun, the chief executive officer of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) wants to see firsthand how the nursing station is meeting the health-care needs of the community. Grinspun says she is excited to meet nurses and other health-care providers who work in the community’s nursing station to learn about the challenges and opportunities they face.
“I have huge respect for First Nations people and their nurses, and we must do all we can to help find solutions to the challenges they encounter. There is also much we can learn,” says Grinspun, adding that “these nurses are knowledgeable professionals who work under tremendous conditions to meet the care needs of their community.” One of the issues Grinspun wants to tackle is the recruiting and retaining of highly qualified nurses to work in remote locations, and the role RNAO must play to find concrete and sustainable solutions. “I want to hear what we can do to improve the situation so we can ensure First Nations communities in Fort Hope, other parts of the province as well as across Canada have the access to the services they need and deserve.”
Grinspun says she hopes her visit will also shine a light on the changes needed to improve the lives of people who live on reserves. “Canada has not been kind to Aboriginal people. Women, children and men, who live on reserves experience higher mortality rates, higher rates of chronic disease and other very serious health problems,” says Grinspun adding nurses know how extreme poverty and lack of opportunities relate directly to people’s ability to lead healthy lives.
This is Grinspun’s second visit to Ontario’s north. Earlier this year, Grinspun spent time visiting nurses in Thunder Bay, Dryden and Sioux Lookout.
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.