As Canadian Nurse focuses on education this month, the National Expert Commission has turned to its own knowledge and education. The Commission, named The Health of Our Nation — The Future of Our Health System, has an ambitious plan and our first phase is several months of “discovery.” During 2011, we will unravel, discuss and debate the story of health and health care. We will synthesize existing reports about the health of Canadians and the health-care system — and pay special attention to the science, knowledge and innovations of Canadian nurses.
And we’ll be listening — to you, other health professionals, governments, the business sector, unions, and the public. You will see the commissioners appearing at conferences across Canada, meeting with government officials, and hosting a series of roundtables. There will be public polling, online surveys, a national nursing panel, and invited submissions.
We will push ourselves to recommend solutions that strengthen the principles of primary health care and the impacts of the broad determinants of health. We know income, poverty, education, race, and other variables have even greater influences on our health than formal health care. What is the evidence behind that story, and what are the policy implications for nursing?
In our second phase, the Commission will translate all that information into sensible, exciting and transformative recommendations. Most importantly, the Commission will speak to ways nurses work with governments, the public and other providers to help turn that evidence into effective, healthy public policy. What does the best evidence today tell us about the health needs of Canadians over the coming 20 years? What kind of systems and policies are needed to meet those emerging needs? What is the best way to rally and use the knowledge and skills of Canada’s nurses to contribute most effectively? These are the kinds of thorny challenges the Commission will address to help shape policy that leads to better health, better care, and better value for all Canadians.
Visit http://expertcommission.cna-aiic.ca/ to stay tuned!
Michael J. Villeneuve, RN, M.Sc.
This column originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Canadian Nurse. Reproduced with the permission of the Canadian Nurses Association.