Did you know that just one extra full-time registered nurse (RN) would save an additional five lives in a hospital care setting? RNs play an essential role in optimal health outcomes in a host of settings. A systematic review of literature shows that greater RN staffing results in reduced hospital mortality. Other research shows that in long-term care settings, a higher proportion of RNs is associated with fewer pressure ulcers, hospitalizations and urinary tract infections, and less weight loss, catheterization and deterioration in ability to perform daily activities.
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in both community and hospital settings have been shown to augment other roles and improve access to health services. For patients with chronic care conditions, RNs and NPs have been shown to reduce the need for health services, improve patient satisfaction and enhance the quality of life. In addition to improved health outcomes and high standards of care, nurses provide a sense of emotional well-being to patients that no research adequately documents.
Nurses make an incredible impact in all sorts of surprising ways. Here are just a few examples:
For a better sense of the day-to-day impact nurses have on their patients, read these experiences of Ontario-based RNs.
Canada boasts one of the highest life expectancies (about 80 years) and lowest infant mortality rates of industrialized countries. While there is debate over efficiencies of our public health care model, many attribute our high rates of health to the system. According to Statistics Canada, 80 per cent of Canadians are satisfied with their access to the health care system.
Read about the federal government’s commitment to nursing policy issues at the Office of Nursing Policy.
However there is always room for improvement, and Ontario is a pioneer in advancing the development of access to primary health care Nurse Practitioners. To learn more about Ontario’s Primary Health Care system check out Health Force Ontario. Nurse Practitioner-led Clinics – 24 are currently in varying stages of development – are a new primary health care delivery model in which NPs are the lead providers of primary health care.
Through a collaborative practice approach, which includes RNs, family physicians, and other health care professionals, nurse NPs provide comprehensive, accessible, and coordinated family health care services to populations who do not have access to a primary care provider. According to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, NP-led clinics improve the quality of care through enhanced health promotion, disease prevention and chronic disease management, as well as improve care co-ordination and navigation of the health care system at the local level.
Nurse practitioner-led clinics and nursing education programs are part of the government's Open Ontario Plan to strengthen the province's health care system – improving quality and accountability for patients, creating jobs, growing the economy and creating a stronger Ontario. See Nursing in Ontario.
Learn more about Nurse Practitioners at: