Dr. Claudette Holloway

Influence and impact: Mobilizing for action 

One of the things that makes me so proud to be a member of RNAO is the influence and impact we have when it comes to getting time with our elected representatives. Think about it for a moment. What other organization has the political clout that we have raising nursing and health issues? Mindful of this privilege, we take our responsibility seriously because the role of nurses is to serve the public to keep them healthy and to care for them when they are sick.
Recently, we marked our 23rd annual Queen’s Park Day event. It was our first in-person event since 2020 and you could feel the energy in the air because we came together from RNAO’s regions, chapters and interest groups and our collective voices strengthened our resolve to speak out for nursing and health. Members were excited to be back, fully engaged and a force, as 150 RNs, NPs and nursing students descended on the provincial legislature in Toronto. RNAO members met with their members of provincial parliament (MPPs) over breakfast, discussing the nursing crisis and the opioid crisis. We presented evidence in the form of well-researched fact sheets and the solutions that we know will make a significant difference on these issues. Conversations and questions focused on fair compensation with a strong retention and recruitment plan, addressing workload concerns, rejecting for-profit health-care clinics, and advocating to strengthen a publicly funded and not-for-profit delivered health system.
These encounters, including the afternoon event, which featured speeches and question and answer sessions with the health minister, minister of long-term care, and opposition leaders and health critics, helped increase knowledge about our profession and strengthen connections with MPPs. We occupy a unique place in the health system and that’s why we should always take every opportunity to make those connections and our profession better. After all, effective advocacy builds our capacity to achieve better health outcomes for all Ontarians.
On the same day we marked Queen’s Park Day, Morgan Hoffarth, our immediate past president, our CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun and I held a press conference to release Nursing Career Pathways. This report takes a snapshot of the nursing landscape, where we are and where we need to go. We have barriers to overcome and opportunities to realize. We have recommendations that flow out of each barrier and opportunity, acting proactively by offering a way out of the nursing crisis and the health system crisis we find ourselves in. I encourage you to read the report and share it widely at work and with other networks. It calls for competitive compensation, action on pay disparities, and safe and healthy work environments. It signals the urgent need for RN prescribing to become a reality, more NP-led clinics, fast-tracking internationally educated nurses, and more nursing seats across various nursing education programs. And, to achieve the full potential of our nursing workforce, we must tackle the barriers that Black nurses and other racialized nurses face.
Queen’s Park Day isn’t the only way members are heard. This past fall and winter, more than 36 meetings were arranged between members and their local MPPs as part of our annual Queen’s Park on the Road event. These meetings give members a chance to talk about the unique challenges they encounter in their communities in nursing, health and health care. Members come armed with experience from their clinical practice or other domains of the profession. MPPs are engaged because they want to hear from their constituents.  
Following the success of these two signature events, I want to build on that momentum as we look ahead to our third important advocacy event coming up on the RNAO calendar. Preparations are now underway for Take Your MPP To Work. This yearly tradition happens during Nursing Week, with events taking place May 8 to 14. We are looking to you to continue the conversations with your MPPs, keep building those relationships – or, if you haven’t yet begun, please start now benefiting from all the RNAO support that is available to you. Click here to access the wonderful toolkit and plenty of advice from our expert policy and communications staff who will no doubt make you shine!  

Our goal is to build on your work by showcasing nursing. Invite your MPPs to your workplace and show them what you do. It gives our elected representatives a chance to see nursing practice in action. It’s essential to inform them about nursing and health issues and gain their understanding and support to move the critical issues that we need to move forward.  

Colleagues, each one of us can, and ought to be, engaged. Ontarians are in need of a strong voice that knows how to fix the challenges that they and nurses face. RNAO is that voice. I am calling all chapters,  regions without chapters and interest groups to put this plan into action. Let’s make this year’s Take Your MPP To Work a memorable event. Let’s celebrate our profession and the work we do. 

Winter 2023
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