TORONTO, Nov. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - The provincial government will not be
able to live up to its promises of a transformed health-care system
that meets the diverse care needs of Ontarians without hiring more RNs.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) says the health
ministry's much vaunted action plan and its promise "to provide the
right care, at the right time, in the right place" simply can't be
realized if Ontario's RN-to-population ratio continues to decline.
"Too many registered nurses (RN) across this province are experiencing
excessive workloads, and job openings for new grads have dried up,"
says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, president of RNAO. Seidman-Carlson says
according to RNAO's calculations, 12.9 per cent of newly graduated RNs
were unemployed in 2012. A further 4.1 per cent were working outside of
nursing and looking for nursing employment.
RNAO says the fact that employment opportunities for RNs have dwindled
in recent years should be cause for concern. The association's
president says the province took years to recover after the fiasco in
the 1990s when nurses headed west and south to the United States to
find work. "It is shameful and wasteful to educate registered nurses
and then fail to create meaningful opportunities for RNs to work in
their chosen profession," says Seidman-Carlson, adding "the evidence
that links hours of RN care with better quality patient outcomes and
system performance is conclusive."
RNAO says the situation facing the nursing profession in Ontario is
particularly unsettling when you compare the province's
RN-to-population ratio against other jurisdictions. Data compiled by
the Canadian Institute for Health Information confirms the gap that has
opened up between Ontario and the rest of the country. The Ontario
ratio has been falling steadily in recent years, with 6.99 RNs/1,000
people, compared to the national average of 8.3 RNs/1,000 people.
RNAO says at this rate, the province needs to hire a minimum of 9,000
RNs by 2015 just to catch up, and realistically needs 17,600 more RNs
to be in line with the national average.
"RNs play a pivotal role when it comes to delivering health care in this
province. A system without enough RNs who have the knowledge and skills
to deal with patients with complex care needs and help those requiring
expert care in the community is doomed to fail," says Doris Grinspun,
RNAO's chief executive officer, adding "how can the province deliver on
its promise to improve access to primary care and home care, and live
up to its pledge to lower chronic disease rates such as childhood
obesity and combat smoking without more RNs?"
RNAO has sent a letter to Premier Wynne and urged its members to write to the premier to press for action.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses wherever they practise 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, 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.
SOURCE: Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
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See the media release on our website.