Media Advisory: Ten years on, Nurse Practitioners have improved health care in Ontario

    TORONTO, Oct. 31 /CNW/ - Nurse practitioners from across the province are
gathering in Hamilton this week to celebrate a decade of providing Ontarians
with better access to health care.
    "Nurse practitioners (NPs) bring health care to patients everywhere in
Ontario. The conference will give us a chance to share our many success
stories with Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman," says
Pamela Pogue, president of the Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario
(NPAO), an interest group of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario.
NPAO represents nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses. "Nurse
practitioners, working in collaboration with physicians and other health care
providers, will continue to ensure improved access to primary health care and
reduce surgical wait times," Pogue adds.
    In 1997, Ontario changed the Nursing Act to regulate the nurse
practitioner role in primary health care. This year, further changes were made
to include adult, pediatrics and anaesthesia nurse practitioner specialties.
Nurse practitioners have the knowledge and skills to provide health-care to
keep families healthy, treat people when ill and help them manage chronic
conditions. They are registered nurses with advanced education and
decision-making knowledge in assessment, diagnosis, and health-care
management. NPs are regulated by the College of Nurses of Ontario, and have
the legislative authority to treat common illnesses and injuries, prescribe
medications, order lab tests, diagnostic imaging such as X-rays and MRI's, and
other tests. Nurse practitioners work in their own clinics, in family health
teams, community health centres and other primary health-care settings. They
also work in specialized hospital inpatient and outpatient programs, emergency
departments, long-term care facilities, community care access centres,
correctional facilities and colleges and universities.
    "By bringing their knowledge and leadership to health-care teams, nurse
practitioners are making sure people get timely access to the health care they
need and deserve," says Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered
Nurses' Association of Ontario, which is co-hosting the conference. "NPs are
the key to unlocking the system and ensuring that no Ontarian fears being
deprived of access to primary health care or long wait times for surgical

    WHAT: Nurse Practitioners Celebrate: Shaping and Promoting the Role.
    Tenth Annual Nurse Practitioner Conference hosted by the Nurse
    Practitioners' Association of Ontario and the Registered Nurses'
    Association of Ontario.

    WHO: More than 500 nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses.
    Minister of Health and Long Term Care, George Smitherman, will attend on
    Friday, Nov. 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

    WHERE: Hamilton Convention Centre, 1 Summers Lane, Hamilton

    WHEN: Nov. 1-4

    The Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario (NPAO), an interest group
of RNAO, represents the professional interests of all NPs in Ontario. NPAO
advocates for accessible, high-quality health care for Ontarians through the
integration of NPs across the health-care system.
    The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (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: Susan Shea, RN(EC), NPAO Board Directors,
Communications, Phone: (613) 803-1709; Jane Sanders, Executive Director, NPAO,
Phone: (647) 300-6726; Marion Zych, Director of Communication, RNAO, Phone:
(416) 408-5605, Cell: (647) 406-5605

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