1. Wallis, Laura


Nurses are deemed crucial to transforming Canada's health care system.


Article Content

Nursing care is effective and affordable, and it makes sense. That conviction lies at the heart of a report, A Nursing Call to Action: The Health of Our Nation, the Future of Our Health System, released in June by the National Expert Commission of the Canadian Nurses Association, which looks to nurses to take a leadership role in improving Canada's national health system.

Figure. Canadian Nur... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Canadian Nurses Association president Barbara Mildon (left) and chief executive officer Rachel Bard discuss

In a report that in many ways mirrors the 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the commission examines and identifies what they call crucial national concerns. Among their findings are that Canadians are living longer and developing more chronic conditions and diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes; many require ongoing management and care that's better delivered at home than in institutions; waits for emergency care and surgery remain unacceptably high; and unnecessary safety risks, caused by fragmented use of information technology, are of serious concern. They conclude that the time has come for a new model of care, one that moves the focus away from the treatment of acute conditions in hospitals and physicians' offices to an emphasis on wellness and preventive care.


A pivotal part of this new model will be ensuring that nurses work to their full scope of practice-a goal that's central to the IOM report as well-up to and including prescribing medications and admitting and discharging patients to and from health care facilities. Nurses are also called upon to take leadership roles in addressing social, economic, and environmental obstacles to health; promoting healthful lifestyles; and forcefully advocating health care transformation.


"This report is the first of its kind in that it's spearheaded by RNs, Canada's largest group of health care professionals," said Barbara Mildon, president of the Canadian Nurses Association. "Playing integral roles at every level of the health care system and with their unique practice focus on nursing care and interactions with patients, clients, residents, and communities across the continuum of care, RNs are in a prime position to drive and enable health system transformation."


To read the report, go to Wallis