Ontario nurses to hear from political leaders during annual meeting



    TORONTO, April 22 /CNW/ - Ontario RNs are gathering this week to send a
message that the government must live up to its commitment to hire 9,000
additional nurses by 2011 to ensure the public has adequate access to care.
    "The 900 nurses the government funded in this March's budget are not
enough to meet its commitment and it leaves nurses straining to provide the
care patients need and deserve," says Wendy Fucile, President of the
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO). "We need 3,000 nurses this
year to meet the public's immediate need for care. Nurses bring the knowledge,
compassion, advocacy and effort that are central to building and maintaining a
strong health-care system, including programs and measures to keep people
healthy in the first place."
    More than 600 RNAO members will voice those ideas this week when they
gather for the association's 84th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Markham.
This year's theme, "Nurses: Advocating for you. Everywhere. Everyday."
highlights the efforts RNs across the province make on behalf of the people
they serve. Their advocacy will continue during the meeting, when they will
have an opportunity to hear Premier Dalton McGuinty, Health Minister David
Caplan, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Progressive Conservative Health Critic
Elizabeth Witmer provide their perspectives on nursing, health and health-care
issues.
    At the AGM, members will debate and vote on several resolutions. They
include a call to continue to urge government to improve access to universal,
regulated affordable childcare as a key pillar of Ontario's poverty reduction
strategy since it will allow more parents to go to work knowing their children
are well looked after. Also on the floor will be a resolution to lobby
government to adopt best practice guidelines for hospital design and
construction.
    "Our members are showing active leadership by speaking out on important
issues that affect everyone in Ontario," says Doris Grinspun RNAO's Executive
Director. "Nurses' clinical expertise and knowledge of the health-care system
makes them keenly aware of the links between government policies and people's
real lives. Nurses want to see that the public's needs, as well as their own,
are answered."
    The annual meeting is also a chance to celebrate the work nurses are
doing in their clinical practice to improve care, despite the nursing
shortage. On Thursday evening, the association will officially designate 12
health-care organizations as Best Practice Spotlight Organizations (BPSO).
These organizations recently completed a three-year partnership with RNAO to
implement and evaluate a series of RNAO's 39 internationally recognized best
practice guidelines that give nurses the best available evidence to improve
patient care. For instance, the Hospital for Sick Children has used a pain
management guideline to help children cope with painful or invasive
procedures.
    "The nurses at these organizations are doing pioneering work," Fucile
says. "Achieving a BPSO designation recognizes their commitment to sharing
their experience and expertise with other health-care organizations who are
interested in implementing RNAO's guidelines."
    RNAO's 84th annual general meeting opens tomorrow evening, April 23, and
continues through to Saturday, April 25 at the Hilton Suites Toronto/Markham
Conference Centre, 8500 Warden Ave. in Markham, Ontario.

    
    Highlights include:

    Thursday, April 23, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
    -  Opening ceremonies featuring remarks from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
       and Progressive Conservative Health Critic Elizabeth Witmer.
    -  Twelve health-care organizations will be designated as Best Practice
       Spotlight Organizations. They are: Cambridge Memorial Hospital;
       Chatham-Kent Health Alliance; Community Care Access Centre Hamilton
       Niagara Haldimand Brant; Extendicare York, a long-term care facility
       in Sudbury; Hamilton Health Sciences; The Hospital for Sick Children,
       Toronto; Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital, Windsor; London Health Sciences
       Centre; Niagara Region Public Health Department; The Ottawa Hospital;
       St. Joseph's Health Care, London; St. Joseph's Health Care, Hamilton.

    Friday, April 24, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
    -  At 9:10 a.m., members will hear from David Caplan, Minister of Health
       and Long-Term Care.
    -  At 2:30 p.m., Premier Dalton McGuinty will address the membership.
    

    To view the annual meeting's full agenda, visit www.RNAO.org

    RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses
wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied 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 further information:

For further information: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO,
Ph: (647) 406-5605, E-mail: mzych@rnao.org


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