National Nursing Week May 6-12 highlights the changing role of front-line care givers

Submitted by: SEIU Healthcare

(May 6, 2013 - Richmond Hill, ON) National Nursing Week will be celebrated this year from May 6 – 12 and will be an opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication nurses bring to the job every day.

As Ontario’s healthcare system transitions to deal with an upcoming silver tsunami where nearly one in four people will be a senior by 2036, the role of nursing care is evolving.

Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) are playing an increasingly important role in both the hospital and homecare settings. RPNs are regulated under the Regulated Health Professionals Act in Ontario and must obtain a two or three year diploma in practical nursing. While there is significant overlap between the training of a RPN and a Registered Nurse (RN) RPNs study for a shorter time and therefore have a more focused foundational knowledge.

RPNs are able to care autonomously for more stable, predictable patient populations in locations such as day surgery units, minor procedure clinics and post-partum units while caring for less stable, less predictable patients in collaboration with other members of the healthcare team, including RNs.

Employing RPNs to their full scope of practice will allow hospitals to deal more effectively with the nursing shortage facing Ontario’s healthcare system and will help to keep escalating costs under control.

As the healthcare system continues to change in the face of new and greater demands, dedicated RPNs will continue to provide a critical piece of the healthcare puzzle.

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