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Nurses across Canada are reducing wait times – News Release

Ottawa, March 25, 2009 – A new treatment regime initiated by a clinical nurse specialist in New Westminster, B.C., means cardiac surgery patients have fewer complications and spend less time in hospital. A nurse-managed outpatient chemotherapy clinic in Toronto decreases wait times for treatment. Intervention from a nurse practitioner reduces the need for hospitalization for long-term care residents across Ontario. Nurses working collaboratively with physicians has almost doubled the capacity of some family practices in Halifax.

These are just a few examples of how registered nurses are developing innovative solutions to the challenges of wait times, as outlined in Registered Nurses: On the Front Lines of Wait Times, a paper the Canadian Nurses Association has released to coincide with the Taming of the Queue conference on March 26-27 in Ottawa.

Concern about wait times in Canada has increased over the last decade to become the most important health-care issue among the Canadian public and health-care providers (Health Care in Canada Survey, 2007).

“Registered nurses play a key role on the front lines of patient care,” says CNA president Kaaren Neufeld. “They see first-hand the challenges of wait times and are ideally positioned to develop creative solutions – solutions from within the publicly funded health system. We urge governments, health leaders and nurses themselves to continue to roll out initiatives like these that improve access to care and reduce wait times, thereby improving the efficiency of Canada’s health system.”

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To arrange an interview, please contact:

Michelle Dennis
Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel.: 613-237-2159 ext. 283
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: mdennis@cna-aiic.ca

About CNA CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. It is a federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing over 135,000 registered nurses. CNA believes that the sustainability of a quality, publicly funded, not-for-profit health system rests upon a vibrant nursing workforce.


Kaaren Neufeld, RN, MN President Canadian Nurses Association

In addition to being president of CNA, Kaaren Neufeld is chief quality officer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, where she is responsible for quality improvement and accreditation, client relations, the patient experience and quality analysis and audits. Neufeld is also an assistant professor, faculty of nursing, at the University of Manitoba and is on the board of directors of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.

Patsy Smith, RN, MN PLS Consulting Nursing in Your Family Practice

As the project lead for Nursing in Your Family Practice, Patsy Smith helped support the integration of registered nurses working with fee-for-service physicians in some family practices in the Capital District Health Authority in Halifax. After only 18 months, 50 per cent of the previously closed practices were accepting new patients and 80 per cent of the practices were able to schedule 40 to 50 per cent more patients each hour and to accommodate more urgent care patients.

Joyce Sauvé Nurse Coordinator Lung Diagnostic Assessment Program

At the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, nurse coordinator Joyce Sauvé plays a vital role in providing a central point of access and in coordinating the diagnostic process in the Lung Diagnostic Assessment Program. During the first 10 months of the program, the median wait time from suspicion to diagnosis was reduced from 120 days to 44 days.

Christine Struthers, RN, BScN, MScN APN Cardiac TeleHealth Ottawa Heart Institute

Christine Struthers has been involved in the provision of cardiac services to patients and families for over 20 years as a clinician, educator, researcher and leader. The Ottawa Heart Institute’s Cardiac TeleHealth program reduces the barriers of distance and time for cardiac patients through TeleHealth, Telehome Care and Interactive Voice Response.

Shelly Cory, MA Executive Director Canadian Virtual Hospice

The Canadian Virtual Hospice (www.virtualhospice.ca) is an online resource that enables Canadians to connect directly with clinical nurse specialists and other palliative care experts for reliable end-of-life information and support. More than 700,000 visitors have viewed the site since it was launched in 2004, and more than 800 questions from Canadians have been answered through this service.