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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, October 28, 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 Ontario. 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 additional education, advanced knowledge and nursing experience, who work collaboratively with nursing colleagues and other health-care providers. They deliver and coordinate high-quality care, order tests, prescribe medications, and diagnose and manage chronic illnesses. In B.C., Alberta and Ontario, NPs have authority to admit and discharge patients in hospitals and other facilities.

“Every day, we see the positive impact that NPs are having on the health-care system and in the communities they serve. From those who work in NP-led clinics to hospitals, their expert care is benefiting hundreds of thousands of people across Ontario,” said Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, president of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).

There are more than 3,000 NPs in Canada, with more than two-thirds of them practising in Ontario. Seventy-two per cent of those in Ontario are primary care NPs who work in community settings such as community health centres, family health teams, nurse practitioner-led clinics and aboriginal health access centres. Other NPs work in hospital settings, in pediatrics or medical specialties with adults, or they provide services to seniors in clinics, hospitals and long-term care homes. They also work with refugees, street youth and marginalized communities, as well as in community palliative care settings and in addictions and mental health.

“Nurse practitioners have been providing safe, high-quality health care for the people of Ontario for more than 40 years,” said Theresa Agnew, executive director of the Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario (NPAO). “They have become essential members of the health-care team. We believe that every person in the province should be able to access a nurse practitioner when and where they need one.”

The campaign — whose slogan is “Nurse Practitioners: It’s About Time!” — is led by CNA in conjunction with RNAO and NPAO. First launched in October 2011, the CNA campaign targets Canada’s various jurisdictions to create a regional focus on the value of NPs. In Ontario, the campaign will involve print and radio ads, as well as transit posters, online ads and other marketing and government relations activities. For more information about CNA’s NP campaign, and to access interactive tools such as video and letters to government, please visit 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 more than 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.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated 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.

The Nurse Practitioners Association of Ontario is the professional association and voice of NPs in Ontario.

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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

Marion Zych
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
Telephone: 416-408-5605
Cell: 647-406-5605
E-mail: mzych@RNAO.ca

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