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March 28, 2023

RNAO’s ongoing media profile: The March 2023 report

media profile

This past month, RNAO’s leadership spoke to reporters about many emerging and ongoing issues, including the release of RNAO’s Nursing Career Pathways report, the need for RN prescribing, the continued push for NP-led clinics and nurses’ concerns about for-profit care.

RNAO’s new Nursing Career Pathways report (released March 2) outlines various barriers and opportunities in nursing, and urges the Ontario government to address these with adequate funding and supports for the profession. The report’s recommendations outline ways to retain and recruit nurses to help improve the health system. “The nursing profession is a world of opportunities with many education and career pathways, each pathway deserving of equal recognition and support,” said RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway in a media release (March 2). In Kenora Online (March 7), RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun highlighted the need for competitive compensation for nurses: “Inadequate compensation doesn’t just affect individual nurses. Whole sectors of practice, such as primary care, home care and long-term care, are even more so affected, so retention and recruitment become immensely challenging.”

In March, the Ontario government also indicated that it’s exploring both RN prescribing, and allowing NPs to order and apply defibrillation and ECGs. As noted by The Trillium (March 9), RNAO has been calling for RNs to be allowed to prescribe for over a decade. “It will transform primary care overnight,” she told The Canadian Press (March 9).

RNAO continues to be vocal in the push for more NP-led clinics in the province. On CTV News Barrie (March 10), Grinspun said she was hoping to hear news from the government during the association’s annual Queen’s Park Day. “We thought we would get the green light,” she explained. “We are still waiting and that’s unacceptable to us.” She also told (March 16) that without support for publicly-funded primary care, residents can expect for-profit initiatives to emerge. One such initiative would create an independent surgical centre in Richmond Hill. Grinspun told The Trillium (March 16) that she is concerned that these types of centres  will further drain staff from hospitals. However, patients who need more complex surgeries will still need to be treated in hospitals. Sign and share RNAO’s Action Alert to call on Premier Ford to stop the move towards for-profit health care in Ontario.

On March 23, the Ontario government released its budget. In its response, RNAO says the budget falls short of what is needed to solve the nursing crisis and address the health system’s current challenges. Although RNAO welcomes the $15 million to keep 100 mid-to-late career nurses working in the system and $22 million to support newly-graduated nurses working in hospitals, the association says that this pales in comparison to what the profession needs. “Nurses are the linchpin of the system and we need scaled-up retention measures to ensure they continue to serve, as well as massive recruitment of nurses to bring up staffing levels,” said Holloway. On CTV News (March 24), Holloway said the government “made some modest investments (but) they’re not pouring money into health care.” She also told 580 CFRA (March 25) that Ontarians and nurses are being left behind in this budget. “We want to see that nurses are able to earn a fair wage. They have long been under the oppression of Bill 124.”

RNAO’s media outreach this month resulted in 95 media hits. As always, RNAO will continue to speak out alongside its members. For more media coverage, visit RNAO in the News.