TORONTO, May 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario legislators will check the pulse of the province's health system when they join nurses in their workplaces during National Nursing Week. Members of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) will host more than 54 MPPs from all parties as part of the association's annual Take Your MPP to Work event.
Now in its 15th year, the event gives politicians an up-close look at how registered nurses (RN) and nurse practitioners (NP) work, across a broad range of sectors, to keep Ontarians healthy and care for them when they are ill. It also provides politicians with a snapshot of the health system's needs, so they can bring that knowledge back to Queen's Park, says RNAO President Vanessa Burkoski.
"The best policy is informed by first-hand experience," says Burkoski, a former Provincial Chief Nursing Officer. "Take Your MPP to Work brings Ontario's policymakers right into the heart of the health system, where they can see what's working, and where more RNs are needed to provide outstanding care to the province's people."
Take Your MPP to Work kicks off during National Nursing Week 2015, which takes place May 11-17, and will continue through June. This year, RNAO members will bring MPPs into Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics and other primary care sites, hospitals, long-term care homes, universities, and various other settings.
"Nurses are the backbone of our health system through all sectors, and this event allows MPPs to appreciate the awesome breadth and scope of nursing practice in Ontario," says Doris Grinspun, CEO of RNAO.
After seeing how vital RNs are to the health system, MPPs must mandate a stop to RN replacement – a disturbing trend among cash-strapped Ontario hospitals where hours of RN care are being cut in favour of care from lesser qualified staff, Grinspun adds.
"RNAO wants to remind our elected officials that cutting RN hours is dangerous for patient care," Grinspun notes. "The more hours of RN care patients receive, the better their health outcomes are. It's time for this government to protect the health of its citizens by stepping in and mandating that employers stop replacing RNs."
Highlights from this year's Take Your MPP to Work include:
- Andrea Horwath, Ontario NDP leader, will visit St. Peter's Residence at Chedoke long-term care home in Hamilton on Friday, May 15.
- Eric Hoskins, Ontario health minister, will visit Women's College Hospital in Toronto on Monday, May 11.
- Tim Hudak, Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP and former Ontario PC leader, will visit Deer Park Villa and Suites and McNally House Hospice in Grimsby on Friday, June 19.
Check RNAO's Nursing Week website for a full list of MPP visits.
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 our website at RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
For further information: Daniel Punch, Communications Officer/Writer, RNAO, 416-408-5606, dpunch@RNAO.ca