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Canadian Nurses Association says ‘It’s About Time’

CNA’s campaign says it’s about time Canadians consider nurse practitioners as the answer to more access to better health care.

Ottawa, Tuesday, March 20, 2012 – The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) campaign to raise awareness about how nurse practitioners (NPs) can improve access to quality health care and reduce wait times was launched in Newfoundland and Labrador today. Almost five million Canadians do not have a primary health-care provider and those that do often have a hard time accessing care. These two factors result in a heavily burdened and overcrowded health-care system, something that Canadians are noticing more and more. CNA, the national professional voice of registered nurses (RNs), strongly believes that the addition of more NPs will improve access to more health-care options and enhance the care of the whole patient.

“As Canadians, we’re proud of and grateful for this country’s health-care system, but it’s time to recognize we deserve even better,” says Judith Shamian, CNA’s president. “Nurse practitioners have played a valuable and essential role in the system for many decades. Given the stress the health-care system is currently under, now is the time to realize just how much more value nurse practitioners can bring to the health of Canadians.”

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have additional education, knowledge, and nursing experience. Working collaboratively with other health-care providers, they provide high-quality care for patients, order tests, prescribe medications, and diagnose and manage chronic illnesses. They work in a wide variety of settings including community clinics, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, and hospitals.

Almost two per cent of Newfoundland and Labrador’s practising RNs are NPs, and the majority are employed in community and hospital-based settings. In many communities where physician services are limited, NPs are seen as the most consistent health-care provider, the main source of health information, and an integral part of the communities in which they work. Newfoundland and Labrador’s health-care system has been challenged to meet the health needs of the public because of an aging population and an ever-growing need to manage chronic diseases such as obesity, kidney disease, hypertension and diabetes.

“While the government of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to invest in improving access to care, more dedicated funding is required for nurse practitioners,” says Pegi Earle, executive director of the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL), which is collaborating with CNA on the campaign. “Further investment in nurse practitioners will support improving access to health-care services and reducing wait times throughout the province. Through this campaign, we want to inform decision-makers and the public about the value of nurse practitioners as essential members of the province’s health workforce.”

The campaign — with the slogan Nurse Practitioners: It’s About Time! — encourages all stakeholders to recognize the value of NPs and continue to make investments that allow for more NPs within the health-care system. This includes dedicated funding for regional health authorities in Newfoundland and Labrador to employ more NPs, especially in areas of the health-care system that could be further enhanced by utilizing the NP role, and continued support to RNs who wish to pursue nurse practitioner education.

The It’s About Time campaign, first launched by CNA in October 2011, is targeting Canada’s various jurisdictions to create a regional focus on the value of NPs.

For more information about CNA’s nurse practitioner campaign and interactive tools such as video and letters to government, please visit www.npnow.ca.  

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 146,788 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

The Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL) is the regulatory body and professional organization representing all 6,700 registered nurses and nurse practitioners in the province. In pursuit of its mission, ‘Nursing Excellence for the Health of the Population,’ ARNNL exists so there will be accountability for self-regulation, professionalism, quality professional practice environments, and healthy public policy.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Lisa Robertson
Telephone: 613-739-7032
E-mail: lrobertson@hillbrooke.ca

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