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Maureen O’Neil

Maureen O’Neil
President, Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement

Nurses Leading Change: Health for All

Health for All by the Year 2000! Nurses, inspired by the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration that health is a fundamental human right, answered that rallying call. While the millennium goal has not been achieved, this CNA series, like the Alma Ata Declaration, is about hope and potential. It is about progress and nurses leading transformational change.

At the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI), we are proud to have worked shoulder to shoulder with Canadian nurses over the past decade and a half, and we commend CNA for creating this powerful series. Our three organizational goals: health-care efficiency, patient- and family-centred care, and coordinated health care are reflected throughout the series. Each of the ten stories is compelling, and together they demonstrate the CNA conviction: that advancing the principles of primary health care is foundational for optimizing the health of all populations and improving the performance of health systems.

The PHC leadership stories touch on a broad spectrum of health-care improvements, and all align with our aim at CFHI of accelerating high-quality, affordable, patient-centred health care for Canadians. Reaching beyond accepted practice to re-imagine and redesign care is a strong theme throughout the stories. In British Columbia, the Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise (RACE) program, developed and implemented by a nurse and her team through CFHI’s EXTRA (Executive Training in Healthcare Improvement) program, allows patients and families to access specialists by phone in a timely fashion from their own communities. In Halifax, the common-sense motto, Health Care Delivered Where You Are, takes primary health care to the streets. In remote communities in northern Ontario and the Northwest Territories, nurse practitioners push the envelope and practise to full scope to do whatever has to be done to provide holistic care.

At CFHI, we are committed to spreading innovations and ideas. Imagine the impacts if these nurse-led innovations in health-care improvement were spread across regions, provinces and territories, and the country! We welcome the opportunity to work with nurses to spread transformational change as they continue to advance the principles of the Alma Ata Declaration. Like nurses, we believe Health for All is achievable.