Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Nurses must be included in PTSD legislation

Ontario's RNs, NPs and nursing students are urging the provincial government to fix its mistake, and immediately add nurses to legislation that expedites access to treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Legislators unanimously passed Bill 163 recently, which gives Ontario's first responders a more direct path to treatment for PTSD. The bill is a major step toward eliminating barriers for suffering Ontarians, except for a glaring omission: the province's nurses.

In a Toronto Star article, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn seems to suggest most nurses are not engaged in first-responder situations, and therefore don't deserve expedited coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) under the bill. Where was the minister during SARS? Or when the Ebola scare hit Ontario? And how little does the minister know about what nursing entails?

When an Ontarian is rushed to hospital after a serious motor vehicle accident, who meets them in our emergency rooms? If an Ontarian overdoses on the doorstep of a community health centre, who is the first to try and save their life? In most cases, it's a nurse. And what about nurses in northern and rural parts of our province, who are often the only health professional to respond to emergencies in their communities?

Nurses witness trauma, suffering and death on a regular basis. We also suffer the highest rates of violence of any profession, and these tragic incidents continue to pile up.

Ontario should be commended for recognizing the struggles faced by many of its emergency workers, but leaving out nurses is a glaring and insulting oversight that must be immediately rectified.

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