TORONTO, Dec. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - The provincial government needs to inject
an infusion of RNs into the health system if it's serious about meeting
the needs of patients. The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
(RNAO) says data released by the College of Nurses of Ontario this week
points to a disturbing trend. In the past two years, the number of RNs
working in the system has dropped by more than 1,000.
The CNO numbers show that in 2010, there were 93,916 RNs, excluding
nurse practitioners, working in Ontario. By 2012, that number dropped
to 92,879. "The government and the opposition parties need to take this
decline very seriously," says Doris Grinspun, RNAO's chief executive
officer. "The ability to provide the public with timely, co-ordinated
and expert care demands vigorous and concerted efforts to reverse this
trend," adds Grinspun.
During its second mandate, the Liberal government promised to hire 9,000
additional nurses, an increase RNAO strongly advocated for and argued
was necessary to meet the health needs of Ontarians. "Now, the numbers
are in and they tell us that the government didn't meet its goal," says
Grinspun, pointing out that between 2008 and 2012, only 7,346 nurses
were added to the system. "Ensuring a stable and adequate supply of RNs
today and for tomorrow is paramount to providing timely and safe
patient care. If action isn't taken quickly, patient care will be
compromised, it's as simple as that," adds Grinspun.
Another troubling trend in the numbers reveals that Ontario's RN to
population ratio is even lower today than it was two years ago. For
every 10,000 people, there are 70.5 RNs compared to 2010 when the ratio
was 72.6 RNs. "We already had the second lowest RN to population ratio
in the country two years ago," says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, RNAO's
president, adding that "the fact that this number is getting worse
should set off alarm bells at the Ministry of Health."
Even disappointing is the gain in the share of RNs working full-time.
From 2011-2012, the proportion of RNs working full-time increased
marginally from 67.9 per cent to 68.3 per cent, but the figures show it
only went up because the number of part-time and casual positions
decreased. "What we should see in the data is an actual increase in the
number of RNs working full-time, but the numbers don't support that,"
The only apparent silver lining in the CNO report is the number of nurse
practitioners working in Ontario. In 2010, there were 1,486 NPs working
in the system. That number increased by 388 in 2012 to 1,874. "We are
delighted to see that the knowledge and expertise that NPs bring to our
system is being recognized with an increase in total positions," says
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario is the professional
association representing registered nurses 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
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
For further information:
To arrange an interview with a nurse or for more information, please contact:
Melissa Di Costanzo
Communications Officer/Writer, RNAO
Cell: 647-222-6942 / Phone: 416-408-5606
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 250
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Cell: 647-406-5605 / Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209