Approximately 700 registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students will gather virtually to celebrate the nursing profession at the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) 97th Annual General Meeting (AGM) taking place June 9 – 11. With the theme “COVID-19 Pandemic: Nursing Through Crisis,” the three-day virtual event will highlight how an expert and compassionate group of professionals – nurses – carried on with unwavering commitment through yet another three waves of a relentless and intense pandemic. Yet, the price paid by nurses with their own health has been high.
“Nursing is in crisis and the instability of the profession requires urgent action,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun. “RNAO’s AGM will ignite discussions on how to turn a challenge into an opportunity to rebuild the RN and NP workforce, so that today and tomorrow Ontarians have the care they need and the health system to serve them. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed worsening gaps and inequities in Ontario’s health system. A strengthened nursing workforce can positively narrow these gaps and lead system transformation.”
RNAO has been relentlessly advocating for action from government, employers, educators and other associations to address the human resource crisis caused by unbearable workloads, poor staffing, lack of professional recognition and mental health challenges. RNAO’s recommendations include repealing current wage restraint legislation, expediting the application process of internationally educated nurses, establishing a nursing task force and increasing the RN-per-population ratio. RNAO looks forward to working with government and opposition parties on the recommendations outlined in its provincial platform and Nursing Through Crisis: A Comparative Perspective report. During the AGM, Grinspun and RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth will share remarks on how RNAO and its members are mobilizing change.
“The nursing profession is multi-faceted, with endless opportunities to grow and inspire change in all sectors of care and domains of nursing,” says Hoffarth. “RNAO’s collective voice of 48,500 RNs, NPs and nursing students is strong and impactful. Every member has their personal story of why they chose nursing, and they know what is needed to improve the profession and the health of Ontarians. Nurses have the solutions, but they need support from decision-makers so people have quality of care, a strong health system, and improved social and environmental determinants of health.”
During the AGM, RNAO will announce the hiring the NP Research Chair focused on a coordinated approach to research emphasizing the effectiveness of NPs in Ontario’s health system. Building on its long tradition of innovative research, RNAO is also launching a new Research Unit that will contribute to knowledge generation using traditional methods and artificial intelligence to advance patient care and outcomes across health sectors.
RNAO remains dedicated to supporting Indigenous communities through various health initiatives. At this AGM, RNAO will be honouring that commitment with the release of the first ever Indigenous-focused best practice guideline: Promoting Smoking Reduction and Cessation with Indigenous Peoples of Reproductive Age and Their Communities.
The AGM will end on Saturday, June 11 with a closing keynote panel from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET focusing on “How will nursing recover post pandemic and what will the profession look like?” This panel will be livestreamed, as well as open to the public and reporters. Seven notable nurses – including a nursing student, RNs and NPs – will bring their perspectives and interact with participants.
The three-day AGM will feature remarks from politicians and international nursing colleagues, as well as the:
• annual Media Awards to recognize the best in health-care reporting
• review and discussion of 12 proposed member resolutions
• annual Recognition Awards of those making significant contributions to honour this year’s 13 recipients
• celebration of this year’s 15 Canadian and international Best Practice Spotlight Organization designates
“As my term as RNAO president comes to a close, we are proud of and energized by the association’s accomplishments of this past year,” says Hoffarth, who will welcome Dr. Claudette Holloway as the incoming president for 2022 –2024. “RNAO members will continue to prioritize the health and wellbeing of Ontarians and of their own nursing colleagues who continue to face the challenges of a nursing crisis intensified by the two-and-a-half-year long pandemic. RNAO commends nurses for the admirable work they do each and every day,” Hoffarth adds.
For updates and the full schedule of events, visit RNAO’s AGM portal.
Members of the media are welcome to watch the livestream and follow the conversation on Twitter using #RNAOAGM.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- 30 -