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, April 29, 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 on Prince Edward Island. 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 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.
In December 2012, P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie announced a new pilot project that will see NPs take on an independent caseload of patients while still collaborating with a family doctor for issues outside their scope of practice. Minister Currie says these changes should increase access to health care for all Islanders and are “an opportunity for us to use [NPs] to their full capacity.”
“We are very excited to be partnering with CNA to increase awareness regarding the role of NPs,” said Association of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island (ARNPEI) president Cheryl Banks. “As new models of care continue to evolve across PEI, NPs will play a key role in delivering timely evidence-based care that effectively meets the needs of the public. We are looking forward to working with Minister Currie and his 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. Prince Edward Island currently has five NPs in primary health care and is planning to hire an additional four in the near future. There is also one NP at the University of P.E.I.’s school of nursing.
The campaign — whose slogan is “Nurse Practitioners: It’s About Time!” — is led by CNA, in conjunction with ARNPEI. 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 nearly 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.
For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561 | 1-800-361-8404