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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, November 3, 2014 - 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 Manitoba. More than four million Canadians are without access to a primary health-care provider, while those that have one often have difficulty accessing care. As the national professional voice of registered nurses (RNs), CNA strongly believes that improving access to NPs will enhance care for the whole patient.

“Nurse practitioners have been an important part of Canada’s health-care system for decades,” said CNA president Karima Velji. “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 other nursing colleagues and health-care providers. They deliver and coordinate high-quality care, order 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. Manitoba NPs are permitted to admit patients to hospitals and were recently authorized to order MRIs.

In November 2013, Manitoba Health Minister Erin Selby announced the creation of nearly 30 newly funded NP positions and a new grant to help hire more NPs. The Nurse Practitioner Education Grant covers tuition in exchange for one year of service as an NP in a rural community.

“Our campaign with CNA is important to increase awareness regarding the role of NPs and informing Manitobans of their different health-care options,” said Brenda Dawyduk, president of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Manitoba (NPAM) and the province’s first NP. “NPs play a key role in delivering timely evidence-based care that effectively meets the needs of the public. We applaud the Manitoban government for recognizing this and look forward to working with Minister Selby and her department in strengthening and enhancing the role of NPs.”

There are more than 3,000 NPs in Canada and every provincial and territorial government has NP legislation in place. Nearly 120 nurse practitioners work in various areas of health care across Manitoba, including hospitals, QuickCare Clinics, primary-care clinics and personal care homes. November 18 is Nurse Practitioner Day in the province.

The campaign — whose slogan is “Nurse Practitioners: It’s About Time!” — is led by CNA, in conjunction with NPAM. 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.

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada representing 151,404 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, 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