RNAO leaders hit the road to discuss health issues with Ontario nurses

TORONTO, Sept. 18, 2015 /CNW/ - Two prominent nursing leaders are set to crisscross the province later this month to check the pulse of the profession with their colleagues.

President Vanessa Burkoski and Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) will be visiting nurses in the communities where they live and work. The association, which has a long and successful history of evidence-based advocacy and action on health issues, represents more than 41,500 registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students.

"This year marks RNAO's 90th anniversary, and given the significance of this milestone, we want to meet with nurses and celebrate the achievements we've made in health, health care and the profession," says Burkoski. "We also want to hear where the system still needs improvement so we can build on our legacy as a powerful voice for nursing, people, and communities."

RNAO couldn't have accomplished so much without regularly consulting with Ontario's nurses – from the frontlines to the executive office – which is why these visits are so important, Burkoski adds. It was the voice of the province's nurses, through RNAO, that led to enhanced preparedness measures in the midst of the largest recorded outbreak of Ebola during the fall of 2014. The association's call for a ban on medical tourism – a practice that threatened to undermine universal, publicly funded Medicare – was also sparked by an RN and eventually led to action from Ontario's health minister.

Grinspun, who says she is proud of RNAO's reputation for sound policy work and successful political advocacy, is also looking forward to meeting with RNs, NPs and nursing students to get their views on the federal election. "Although the party leaders have been campaigning for six weeks, health care hasn't received the attention it deserves."

To advance the views of nursing during this long federal campaign, the association released a policy platform in August. Why Health Matters highlights 17 recommendations that affect an individual's ability to be healthy and outlines policies and programs to improve the system's overall efficiency.

"Nurses are central to our health system and our practice gives us insight into the broad range of factors that foster good health," says Grinspun. "Access to affordable housing, measures to reduce poverty, and a clean environment are key to keeping people healthy. We want to see these areas addressed by the all four political parties," adding that both she and Burkoski believe Medicare should be strengthened to include pharmacare.

Details of RNAO's Fall Tour:

President Vanessa Burkoski

Ottawa:   Mary Pit Building, 100 Constellation Drive, Monday, Sept. 28, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.   (Jaguar Room)  

Orillia:   Georgian College-Orillia Campus, Memorial Avenue, Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. (Room A101)

Windsor:   Armando's Restaurant, 326 Cabana Road East, Thursday, Oct 1, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

CEO Doris Grinspun

Sioux Lookout:  Meno Ya Win Health Centre, 1 Meno Ya Win Way, Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. (Boardroom A)

Mississauga:   South Common Community Centre, 2233 South Millway, Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Toronto:  Access Point on the Danforth, 3079 Danforth Avenue, Monday, Oct. 5, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Media are welcome to attend.

This year marks the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario's (RNAO) 90th anniversary. 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-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

For further information: To arrange an interview with a nurse, please contact: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), 647-406-5605 (cellular), 416-408-5605 (office), mzych@RNAO.ca


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