TORONTO, March 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Following meetings with representatives of parties at the Ontario legislature, Ontario's nurse practitioners have issued a call to action for members of the legislature to work together in support of better integration of the province's nurse practitioner workforce. The meetings took place as part of the Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario's participation in the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario 13th annual Queen's Park Day, which was held on March 1.
"Now, more than ever, Ontario must take the steps needed to realize the full opportunity for cost-efficiencies and better outcomes represented by the province's nurse practitioners, working on the front-lines of care," says Claudia Mariano, President of the Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario (NPAO). "Ontario's nurse practitioners are ready, willing and able to do more to help us meet the challenges facing healthcare."
Mariano noted that both Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care, as well as the recent recommendations from the Drummond Commission, call for a more patient-centred health care system that makes greater use of the full scope of practice of all health professionals. Nurses - and nurse practitioners in particular - represent one of the best opportunities to achieve better value from our existing complement of health providers.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses who have achieved additional University education and professional regulatory requirements. Nurse practitioners have the authority to diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries, treat and discharge patients from hospitals, as well as prescribe many medications and perform procedures. Studies have shown that nurse practitioners, when better integrated into primary care, can help reduce wait times, improve patient outcomes and satisfaction, while reducing health care costs. While there has been some important progress in the province's use of nurse practitioners, there remain some significant barriers to their full integration into healthcare delivery. Indeed, as a result of compensation issues and limitations that have been placed on nurse practitioners' ability to take advantage of their full scope of practice, Ontario is facing a growing NP recruitment and retention risk in primary care.
"Ontario's nurse practitioners are well positioned to help the province achieve its health care goals, promising to deliver improved care in a cost efficient manner," says Mariano. "However, the barriers that are preventing them from living up to their full promise continue. Today, we are calling on all members of the legislature to work with us to reduce those barriers and let Ontarians gain the full benefit of further integration of nurse practitioners into the healthcare system across the continuum of care."
The Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario (NPAO) is the professional voice for Nurse Practitioners in Ontario. Our mission is to achieve the full integration of Nurse Practitioners to ensure accessible, high quality health care for all. For more information about NPAO and Ontario's nurse practitioners, you can visit our website at www.npao.org or follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/npao2.
For further information:
For more information or to schedule an interview with a nurse practitioner or a representative of NPAO, please contact: Daria Parsons, Executive Director. (416) 346-0072