Media Advisory – Politicians to get up-close view of RNs’ expertise during Nursing Week

TORONTO, May 8 – Thirty politicians will find out what it takes to be a nurse – and why 9,000 additional ones are needed – when they visit RNs in hospitals, public health units, primary care clinics, homes and long-term care facilities next week.The politicians are participating in the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) Take Your MPP/MP to Work initiative. The event, now in its ninth year, gives nurses the chance to bring this year’s Nursing Week theme, Nursing: You can’t live without it, to life for politicians. Federal and provincial politicians will see how public health nurses ensure people stay healthy and protect themselves from disease; how nurses in long-term care facilities improve the health and quality of life for their residents; what RNs in primary care clinics do to help people manage chronic illnesses like diabetes and asthma; the way RNs in hospitals work with people struggling with acute illnesses; and how nurses’ expertise enables people to receive care in their homes so they can remain there with their loved ones.

RNAO President Wendy Fucile says the event is a chance to showcase nurses’ knowledge, skill and compassion, as well as the demands of their daily work. “Every day, RNs all over this province are providing the best, safest care people need and deserve,” she says. “But the government must keep its commitment to hire 9,000 additional nurses by 2011. These positions are needed to meet the immediate, ever-growing demand for nursing care, and to prepare for the future as many nurses near retirement. We’ve asked Premier McGuinty to fund 3,000 additional nurses this year, and the threat of a flu pandemic makes this call urgent.”

RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun says Take Your MPP/MP to Work allows politicians to see the breadth of what nurses are doing across the province for children, adolescents, adults and older people. “Nursing Week provides an important forum to remind politicians how nurses work with people so that they remain healthy, access timely, high-quality health services when they need them, and care for them when they are ill,” she says. “If politicians from all parties have a solid understanding of what RNs’ work is about, they’ll see right away why bringing an additional 9,000 of them into the workforce is a sound investment of public dollars.”

Highlights of Take Your MPP to Work include:
– Minister of Health and Long-Term Care David Caplan will tour Kensington Gardens Long-Term Care Centre in Toronto, with RNAO member Debbie Emerson and RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun, on Tuesday, May 12.
– Minister of Health Promotion Margarett Best will visit Toronto Public Health, with RNAO member Katie Dilworth, on May 13.
– Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Deputy Government House Leader Brad Duguid, will tour Scarborough General Hospital, with RNAO member Nancy Fletcher on May 11.
– Minister of Environment John Gerretsen will visit Kingston General Hospital, with RNAO Assembly member Joy Peacock, on May 15.
– Minister without Portfolio and Chair of Cabinet, Gerry Phillips will visit Scarborough Grace Hospital, with RNAO member Carmen James-Henry, on May 14.
– Deputy Progressive Conservative Leader, PC House Leader and PC Critic for Health and Long Term Care Elizabeth Witmer will tour St. Michael’s Hospital, with RNAO member Andrea McGuiness and RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun, on May 13.
– NDP Critic for: Autism, Francophone Affairs, Health and Long-Term Care and Health Promotion France Gélinas will visit Sudbury Regional Hospital, with RNAO President-Elect David McNeil and RNAO Board of Directors member Paul-André Gauthier, on May 15.

Highlights of Take Your MP to Work include:
– Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton will meet with RNAO members in Ottawa on May 14.

A complete list of all the visits, which will be updated throughout Nursing Week (May 11-17), can be found on RNAO’s website:

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied 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.

For further information: please contact: Jill Scarrow, Communications Officer, Writer, Ph: (416) 599-1925, 1-800-268-7199 ext. 210,; Jill-Marie Burke, Media Relations Coordinator, RNAO, Ph: (416) 599-1925, 1-800-268-7199 ext. 250,

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