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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 greater access to better health care.

Ottawa, September 30, 2013 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) campaign to raise awareness about nurse practitioners (NPs), which focuses on how NPs improve access to quality health care and reduce wait times, is being launched today in Nova Scotia. More than four million Canadians are without access to a primary health-care provider, while those that have one often have difficulty accessing care. The result is an unsustainable, heavily burdened and overcrowded health-care system. As the national professional voice of registered nurses (RNs), CNA strongly believes that adding more NPs will improve access, lead to a greater number of health-care options and enhance care for the whole patient.

“Nurse practitioners have been an important part of Canada’s health-care system for decades,” said CNA president Barb Mildon. “But Canadians would get a lot more benefit if the health-care system allowed more NPs to work to their full scope of practice. Given the current strains on our system, there’s no better time to harness the full capabilities and expertise of NPs. They’re an existing resource with a track record for improving Canadians’ access to primary health care.”

NPs are RNs with advanced education and additional knowledge and nursing experience, who work collaboratively with other nursing colleagues and health-care providers. They deliver and coordinate high-quality care, order and interpret tests, prescribe medications, and diagnose and manage chronic illnesses. NPs are part of health-care teams in a variety of settings, including community clinics, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and hospitals. In B.C., Alberta and Ontario, NPs have authority to admit and discharge patients in hospitals and other facilities.

Nova Scotia introduced NP legislation in 2001 and the first NP was licensed to practise in 2002. Over the past decade, the province’s governments have consistently supported the integration of NPs into the health-care system and worked with the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia (CRNNS) to enable NPs to practise to their full potential.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with CNA on this awareness campaign,” said college president Peter MacDougall. “We know that NPs in Nova Scotia are highly valued by their patients and professional colleagues. However, this is an opportune time for all Nova Scotians to take a closer look at the role of NPs and how they could play an even larger role in promoting health and improving access to quality health care.”

There are more than 3,000 NPs in Canada and every provincial and territorial government has NP legislation in place. Nova Scotia currently has approximately 130 NPs caring for patients of all ages — from newborns to seniors — and practising in areas such as primary health care, acute care (hospitals), long-term care and emergency centres.

The campaign — whose slogan is “Nurse Practitioners: It’s About Time!” — is led by CNA, in conjunction with CRNNS. First launched in October 2011, the CNA campaign targets Canada’s various jurisdictions to create a regional focus on the value of NPs. For more information about CNA’s NP campaign and to access 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 over 150,000 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.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca

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