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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What did the Commission’s report – A Nursing Call to Action – have to say about nurses and health-care transformation?
  2. What will happen to the Commission’s recommendations?
  3. How can the Commission have an impact when federal, provincial and territorial governments can’t reach agreement on health care issues?
  4. Haven’t I heard about Better Health, Better Care, Better Value before?
  5. What do nurses mean when they talk about a “wellness model” for health care?
  6. How many Registered Nurses are there in Canada?
  7. How many Nurse Practitioners are there in Canada?

Answers:

1. What did the Commission’s report – A Nursing Call to Action – have to say about nurses and health-care transformation?

The Commission report, A Nursing Call to Action, suggests a fundamental shift in how health and health care is funded, managed and delivered in Canada. The Commission has proposed a 9-point Action Plan to help change the way the health-care system is organized, funded and measured with a view to improving health, saving costs and delivering the care Canadians need. Read the report [PDF, 3.8 MB] for more detail.

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2. What will happen to the Commission’s recommendations?

The Board of Directors of the Canadian Nurses Association will receive the report and consider its implications for the nursing profession. It will be the CNA that charts a course of action based on the Commission’s advice.

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3. How can the Commission have an impact when federal, provincial and territorial governments can’t reach agreement on health care issues?

Canadians trust and value the work that nurses do, and nurses represent the largest proportion of health care professionals working in the health care system today. The nursing profession can offer governments at all levels significant and highly relevant advice and guidance about system reforms, based on their intimate involvement in the science, planning, management and delivery of care. The Commission believes its report captures the wisdom of nurses and offers practical, workable solutions (often nurse-led) that will deliver a transformed health-care system that meets the true needs of Canadians.

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4. Haven’t I heard about Better Health, Better Care, Better Value before?

This triple aim approach Better Health, Better Care, Better Value is becoming more common in discussions about health care reform around the world because it addresses the three dimensions of care: the health of the population, the experience of care for individuals within the population, and the per capita cost of providing that care. Beginning in 2007, the Institute for Health Improvement in the United States has worked with a group of 15 organizations in the US, England, and Sweden that is committed to implementing common design components of the Triple Aim.

Even Canada’s health-care Ministers have adopted this framework in the language of their own deliberations about health system transformation.

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5. What do nurses mean when they talk about a “wellness model” for health care?

Nurses are especially concerned that Canada’s publicly funded health-care system still favours a model based on episodic treatment of illness as well as acute, in-patient/outpatient care delivery services. And so a preference for health care solutions that encourage and sustain good health and wellness – diminishing the incidence of ill health and disease that take people to the hospital -- will be evident in the Commission’s work.

Focusing on physicians, drugs and institutional care to the detriment of other delivery models is not an affordable long-term option, nor is it always the best option for patients. This focus on illness over health, treatment over prevention, and individual providers over teams of health-care professionals has led to expensive ways of treating many health conditions – when we already know there are effective, less costly alternatives. Many health problems do not require hospital care and are amenable to effective, safe interventions by nurses in other settings and at costs the system can bear.

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6. How many Registered Nurses are there in Canada?

Canada’s 268,500 registered nurses are directly involved with patients, families and communities in a wide variety of settings, providing care in all levels of the health system. In addition to multiple clinical settings, they work in research, leadership, policy and education. All of these perspectives have allowed nurses to gain important insights about the system, its costs and outcomes.

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7. How many Nurse Practitioners are there in Canada?

There are 2,486 nurse practitioners at work across Canada.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have additional education and nursing experience. They are health-care professionals who treat the whole person: addressing needs relating to their physical and mental health, gathering their medical history, focusing on how their illness affects their lives and their family, and offering ways for people to lead a healthy life and teaching them how to manage chronic illness. Nurse practitioners are educators and researchers who can be consulted by other health-care team members.

Nurse practitioners:

  • Promote health and wellness
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Order tests
  • Prescribe medications

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