Nearly 40 Ontario politicians, including the leaders of all three political parties and the Health Minister, will get a dose of the realities facing the health-care system when they go to work with nurses across the province next week.
The MPPs are taking part in the seventh annual Take Your MPP to Work initiative organized by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) during National Nursing Week (May 7-13). MPPs will accompany nurses on home care visits and tour public health units, hospitals, nursing homes, a rehabilitation center for children and other health-care sites across the province to see nursing’s challenges and rewards.
“Nurses have a clear vision and pragmatic solutions about the supports that are needed to help people maintain or regain their health,” says RNAO President Mary Ferguson-Paré. “By sharing our diverse voices with policy makers, nurses have a direct influence on decisions that can improve the health-care system and the care we provide to patients. We plan to share with MPPs the varied roles RNs have, and stress upon them the need to fully use nurses’ knowledge, skills and compassion in all sectors and through expanded roles to keep people healthy.”
RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun says nurses can offer sustainable solutions to strengthen Canada’s not-for-profit health care system, and reduce or prevent future nursing shortages. That includes providing 70 per cent of RNs with full-time work, and introducing programs to allow nurses over age 55 the chance to spend 20 per cent of their time away from the bedside on professional development activities such as mentoring the newer generation of nurses. “We need to keep our experienced nurses working so they can share their expertise with those entering the profession,” Grinspun says. “Programs like the recently announced full-time work for new graduates are superb first steps toward building a strong nursing profession. Now, we need to make sure we are also supporting nurses at every stage of their careers so that they can fully serve the public.”
Highlights of the Take Your MPP to Work event include:
- Premier Dalton McGuinty will visit University Health Network on Tuesday, May 15 at 2:30 p.m. He will join RNAO President Mary Ferguson-Paré at an orientation session for nurses and tour two units at Toronto General Hospital.
- Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman will visit Ryerson University in Toronto on Thursday, May 10 with RNAO President-Elect Wendy Fucile. The visit will begin at 11:15 a.m. at Jorgenson Hall, 380 Victoria Street, Room 1402.
- PC Party Leader John Tory will visit a home care client in downtown Toronto on Monday, May 7 with an RN from Saint Elizabeth Health Care and RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun. The visit will take place between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.
- PC Party Health Critic Elizabeth Witmer will also visit a home care client during the afternoon on Wednesday, May 9. She will be joined by an RN from the Victorian Order of Nurses and RNAO President Mary Ferguson-Paré.
- NDP Leader Howard Hampton will join RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun during a visit at Bloorview Kids Rehab, 150 Kilgour Road, Toronto, on Tuesday, May 8 at 12 p.m.
- NDP Health Critic Shelley Martel will address nurses at an RNAO Quinte Chapter Nursing Week event on Thursday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the Banquet Centre, Alhambra Square in Belleville.
More than 30 other MPPs will join RNs at their workplaces across the province. For a complete schedule of all events, visit www.rnao.org
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.