Media Advisory - Public Health Nurses brief Deb Matthews, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues and Minister of Children and Youth Services, on the benefits of screening all women for abuse

    LONDON, Dec. 5 /CNW/ - The day after Canadians remember the 14 young
women who were murdered at l'Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, Minister Deb
Matthews will meet with nurses at the Middlesex-London Health Unit to learn
more about the role they play in protecting women and girls from violence.
    Nurses at the Health Unit routinely ask all females over the age of 12 if
they've ever experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse. They are
following a protocol that was recommended in a report issued by the Health
Unit's Task Force on the Health Effects of Woman Abuse in 2000. The Health
Unit is enhancing its screening program by incorporating recommendations
outlined in a best practice guideline developed by the Registered Nurses'
Association of Ontario (RNAO.)
    "Nurses are in an ideal position to screen women for abuse," explains
Irmajean Bajnok, Director of the International Affairs and Best Practice
Guidelines Programs at RNAO. "They are accessible and enjoy a high degree of
public trust. They interact with women during times of stress and illness, as
well as during life transitions such as adolescence, pregnancy and
    During the meeting with Minister Matthews, nurses will describe the
numerous health and safety benefits of routinely screening women and girls for


    -   Minister Deb Matthews, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues,
        Minister of Children and Youth Services
    -   Diane Bewick, Director of Family Health Services, Middlesex-London
        Health Unit
    -   Irmajean Bajnok, Director of International Affairs and Best Practice
        Guidelines Programs, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
    -   Public Health Nurses involved in screening women and girls for abuse:
        Rhonda Brittan, Mary Huffman and Susan Hall

    WHAT: Briefing for Minister Deb Matthews on the role nurses play in
    protecting women and girls from violence.

    WHEN:  Friday, December 7, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

    WHERE:  Middlesex-London Health Unit
            50 King Street
            Teaching Room No. 2, Lower Level
            London, ON. N6A 5L7

    Members of the media are invited to attend.

    The Mission of the Middlesex-London Health Unit, a teaching health unit,
is to promote wellness, prevent disease and injury, and protect the public's
health through the delivery of public health programs, services and research.
The efforts of Health Unit staff help the residents of Middlesex County and
the City of London live balanced, healthy lives.
    RNAO's ambitious Best Practice Guidelines Program, funded by the Ministry
of Health and Long-term Care, was launched in 1999 to provide the best
available evidence for patient care across a wide spectrum of health-care
areas. The 36 guidelines developed to date focus on direct client care areas
and healthy work environments and are a substantive contribution towards
building excellence in Ontario's health-care system. They are available to
nurses and other health care professionals across Canada and abroad. To learn
more about RNAO's Nursing Best Guidelines Program or to view these resources
please visit
    The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario is the professional
association representing registered nurses 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: Jill-Marie Burke, Media Relations Coordinator,
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Work phone: (416) 408-5606, Cell:
(647) 504-4008, Toll-free: 1-800-268-7199 ext.250, E-mail:

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