Prominent Canadians Champion the Nursing Profession

    OTTAWA, Sept. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - A group of accomplished Canadians will
champion nurses and the nursing profession during the Canadian Nurses
Association (CNA) centennial in 2008. "The individuals - experts in the fields
of health policy, the environment, public affairs, leadership, business, media
and entertainment - will volunteer their skills and knowledge to advance the
important role of nursing in improving the health system and quality of life
for the benefit of all Canadians," said Dr. Marlene Smadu, president of CNA.
As members of the CNA Centennial Leadership Cabinet, they will also help
celebrate the contributions of Canada's 250,000 registered nurses at events
throughout CNA's 100th anniversary year.
    The Leadership Cabinet members are:

    - Ms. Susan Aglukark, OC, singer and songwriter;
    - Mr. Paul Brandt, county music star and former pediatric nurse;
    - Mr. Mike Duffy, national political affairs journalist;
    - The Honourable Jake Epp, chairman of Ontario Power Generation and
      former federal minister of health;
    - Dr. Paul Genest, president and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities
    - The Honourable Michael Harcourt, former premier of British Columbia
    - General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff;
    - The Honourable Anne McLellan, counsel, Bennett Jones, and former deputy
      prime minister and federal minister of health;
    - Ms. Farah Mohamed, vice-president, public affairs and community
      engagement, VON Canada
    - Ms. Barbara Oke, RN, special adviser, nursing, Health Canada;
    - Dr. Ginette Lemire Rodger, OC, RN, vice-president professional practice
      and chief nursing executive, Ottawa Hospital;
    - Dr. Robert Slater, former assistant deputy minister, Environment
      Canada; and
    - Mr. Jeff B. Smith, managing director, Johnson & Johnson Inc..

    Many of the cabinet members have had recent personal experience with the
health system. "Nurses played a pivotal role in my rehabilitation and recovery
after the near-fatal fall I suffered," said Mr. Harcourt. The former B.C.
premier sustained life-threatening injuries and partial paralysis when he fell
from a cliff six metres high in 2002.
    "Whether in the Canadian Forces' uniform or in civilian garb, our nurses
have cared for, comforted and helped heal our nation's heroes - they are often
quiet heroes themselves," said Gen. Hillier, noting that "nurses have served
in every major conflict Canada has been involved in from the World Wars
through to current operations in Afghanistan."
    "In First Nations and Inuit communities, nurses are the main health
providers. Their expertise and commitment assures access to health-care
services," stated Ms. Aglukark. "In many of our communities, nurses support
individuals and their families through trauma and life-threatening illnesses.
Nurses save lives day after day."
    CNA will use its centennial year to address the concerns of Canadians
about access to health services through initiatives aimed at increasing public
awareness about the scope of practice for nurses, improving morale among
nurses, attracting new people to the profession and increasing funding for
nursing education, research and practice.
    "Increasingly, rural communities are coming to rely on nurse
practitioners to help meet their primary health care needs, such as annual
check-ups, the ordering of diagnostic tests and referrals to specialists,"
said Mr. Epp, who represented the riding of Provencher, Manitoba, as a member
of Parliament. From his perspective as a business leader, Mr. Epp said,
"Nurses make important contributions to a healthy workforce and the economic
prosperity of our society as a whole."
    "Investing in nursing education is an investment in the future of
Canada's health system," said Dr. Genest, president of the Council of Ontario
Universities. "Our aging population is putting new pressures on health-care
delivery. Schools of nursing are committed to expanding to address the current
and future nursing shortage. But they are struggling with insufficient
operating funding and a lack of quality clinical placements. I am excited
about this opportunity to work with CNA to increase awareness of the critical
role of nursing and to explore effective ways of expanding enrolment levels to
meet the rising demand for nursing care."
    CNA is the national voice for registered nurses, advancing the profession
and shaping health policy through innovation and research. "Representing the
largest group of health professionals in Canada, CNA has a critical role to
play in developing strategies to reduce wait times for health services. I
share the view of CNA that innovation is also key to effectively responding to
the health needs of our aging Canadian population," said Ms. McLellan. "It is
truly an honour to support this work and our nurses."
    "As a Leadership Cabinet member for the 100th birthday of the CNA, I look
forward to promoting the nurses and the difference they make to communities
across the country," said Mr. Smith.
    "Having worked in my first career as a nurse, I know how demanding the
job is and the positive difference nurses make in the lives of their patients
and their families," said Mr. Brandt. "From life's start, to life's end, there
is always a nurse."
    Dr. Lemire Rodger said, "CNA's centennial has the potential to be an
important year in increasing public understanding of the vital role nurses
play in the health system. Not many people realize that nurses take many
decisions that have life-and-death consequences in very specialized areas in
hospitals each day. Through skilled monitoring of patient conditions, timely
clinical interventions, patient education and ground-breaking research, nurses
play a critical role in positive patient outcomes."
    Programming for CNA's centennial will focus on three themes: celebrating
a century of leadership, investing in the future and advocating for a
healthier environment. As a member of the Leadership Cabinet, Dr. Slater will
assist CNA in increasing public policy attention on the effects of
environmental issues like climate change on the health of Canadians.
    The role of Canadian nurses has expanded over the last 100 years. Nurses
have specialized knowledge that enables them to provide advice and treatment
for people across the spectrum of care, including cardiac and cancer care,
maternal and child care, intensive care and home care. Nurses also coordinate
research, administer hospital and health clinics, and lead public health
initiatives. Nurses can be found working in schools, war zones, remote rural
areas, prisons and homeless shelters, as well as in hospitals, long-term care
facilities and doctors' offices. "In lending their support, the Leadership
Cabinet is promoting the evolving and integral role nurses play in charting
the course for a stronger and more vibrant health system for Canadians," said
Dr. Smadu.

For further information:

For further information: Tina Grznar, communications specialist,
Canadian Nurses Association, (613) 237-2159 ext. 283, cell: (613) 240-7830,

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