RNAO celebrates milestone anniversary with international flare

TORONTO, April 9, 2015 /CNW/ - The global influence and impact of Ontario's nurses will be on display next week as representatives from around the world gather for the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario's (RNAO) 90th annual general meeting (AGM). Health-care professionals from three continents will join nursing dignitaries, prominent Ontario politicians, and hundreds of RNAO members at the AGM, held April 16-18 at the Hilton Toronto.

Through 90 years of history, RNAO has worked tirelessly to keep the nursing profession strong and keep Ontarians healthy. And this year, RNAO will mark this historic milestone by making more history, officially welcoming the first international graduates of its Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) program from Australia, Chile, Colombia, and Spain. Top representatives will be on hand as their organizations are officially designated as BSPOs, and will share the impact that implementing RNAO's best practice guidelines has had on patient care in their countries.

AGM will also shine the spotlight on 13 Ontario health organizations who are receiving their BPSO designation. BPSO leaders will be greeted at the podium by Minister of Health Eric Hoskins, International Council of Nurses President Judith Shamian, and RNAO's leadership. RNAO's website features a full list of the newest BPSO designates.

"We are extremely proud to see our best practice guidelines improving outcomes for patients both at home and around the world," says RNAO President Vanessa Burkoski. "The way nurses have become champions for evidence-based practice internationally is a real testament to RNAO's influence and impact."

To further honour the contributions of Ontario nurses, the association will present its annual Recognition Awards to 13 RNs and nursing students, as well two nursing groups who have made a difference. The awards recognize excellence in nursing in various sectors, including clinical, classroom and boardroom settings. RNAO will also hand out trophies to journalists at its Media Awards. Winning entries – from CBC Radio's The Current, the Ottawa Citizen, CTV News and more – brought forward important nursing, health, and health-care issues in 2014. A full list of Recognition Awards and Media Awards winners is available at RNAO.ca

While AGM is a time for celebration, it's also a time when Ontario's nurses tackle serious issues in health, health-care, and the profession. During the business session of the AGM, nurse leaders will vote on resolutions covering the following topics: climate change, dental care, human trafficking, sickle cell disease, funding for novice nurse researchers, financial support for older Canadians, and nurse liability protection.

Also on the agenda is one of the biggest health-care debates in Canada and across the globe: end-of-life care. In light of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision to overturn the ban on physician-assisted dying, RNAO is hosting an open session on end-of-life care. RNs, legal experts, and Maureen Taylor – widow of Dr. Donald Low – will participate in a panel moderated by Toronto Star columnist Carol Goar. Attendance is free and open to media and the public. At its 2014 AGM, RNAO passed a resolution urging the provincial and federal governments to engage in formal, public conversations on end-of-life care. Now that the Supreme Court has overturned the assisted suicide ban, we must all engage in open and frank dialogue about end of life care, says RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun.

"Nurses have never shied away from the difficult issues facing our society," Grinspun says. "By opening this dialogue, we are taking the lead in a conversation that affects our profession, and the health and wellbeing of everyone in Canada."

Amidst all the celebrations and important discussions, attendees will also have the chance to reflect on RNAO's rich history, with RNAO and nursing artifacts on display throughout the AGM.

"For nine decades, RNAO has led the way for nursing in Ontario, and grown alongside the profession," Grinspun says. "Let's take this chance to appreciate the amazing nurses who've taken us this far, and continue to move nursing, health, and health-care into the future."

Highlights from the AGM include:

Thursday, April 16, 6 – 8:30 p.m.:

  • Hon. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
  • Jim Wilson, Interim PC Leader
  • France Gélinas, NDP Health Critic
  • Dr. Judith Shamian, President, International Council of Nurses
  • Dr. Karima Velji, President, Canadian Nurses Association
  • Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) ceremony welcoming new Ontario BPSO designates, and first international BPSO designates

Friday, April 17, 8:30 a.m.9:30 p.m.:

  • RNAO's Dr. Doris Grinspun delivers her CEO Report at 8:45 a.m.
  • RNAO's Dr. Vanessa Burkoski delivers her President's Report at 4:10 p.m.
  • Presentation of Nursing Awards throughout the day
  • Presentation of Media Awards at 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 18, 11:30 a.m.:

  • Panel discussion: End of Life Care: Voices and Perspective at 11:30 a.m.

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: For more information about this guideline, please contact: Daniel Punch, Communications Officer/Writer, RNAO, Tel: 416-408-5606, 1-800-268-7199, ext. 250, dpunch@RNAO.ca


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