McGuinty government improving health services by investing in better quality nursing care

Archived Release

McGuinty government improving health services by investing in better quality nursing care

Ministry of Health

TORONTO, Dec. 8 - The McGuinty government is improving access to quality care for patients by investing in programs that will support nurses through all stages of their careers, Health and Long Term Care Minister George Smitherman announced today. "The nursing shortage has gone on for years because the real issues facing nurses and the nursing profession have been ignored," Smitherman said. "Our plan is working - we are building a health care system that once again is making Ontario the employer of choice for nurses." The government is investing a total of $29.1 million in its strategy to support nurses. This builds on the $89 million the government has already invested to improve access to full-time employment opportunities and improve working conditions for nurses in Ontario's hospitals. Through the initiatives announced today, the government will create more full-time nursing positions and enhance educational and professional opportunities. Specific investments include: - $17.7 million for new graduate nursing positions in hospitals or long-term care homes - $1.4M to create mentoring relationships between experienced and less experienced staff and students in Long Term Care, Public Health and Home Health Care - $10M for clinical simulation equipment that provides nurses with hands-on clinical practice in simulated situations as part of their undergraduate education. "The government clearly sees the opportunity at hand to improve nursing in this province. Full-time employment is an issue for nursing graduates particularly in the face of a nursing shortage. I am pleased to see that the ministry recognizes the need to address this issue," said Dr. Andrea Baumann, McMaster University Nursing Health Research Unit. "These new initiatives provide opportunities and better training to these new graduates." "Our government values the work of nurses and knows that each one brings a special set of knowledge, experience and skill to the health care system," Smitherman said. "These new initiatives will help us reach our goal of increasing the number of nursing positions by 8,000 during our mandate." This news release is available on our website at: http://www.gov.on.ca/health/ Version fran├žaise disponible Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- NURSING STRATEGY The McGuinty government is introducing the next phase of its plan to create more full-time nursing positions and enhance educational and professional opportunities for all nurses. The plan includes funding for new full-time opportunities for new graduates who will receive a three-month mentorship period, development of mentorship/preceptorship programs, and new clinical simulation equipment. Graduate Nursing Positions ($17.7 million) This initiative will support new nursing graduates as they move into the workplace by creating temporary full-time positions in hospitals and long-term care facilities. These temporary full time new graduate positions will: - Allow new graduates to gain valuable work experience and build on their skills, making them more marketable for permanent full-time positions as they become available - Allow employers to recruit new graduates immediately into full time positions for three months, while the graduates are waiting for permanent positions to become available (many positions are expected to become vacant over the coming year, through retirements). Employers are eligible to apply for funding to create these temporary full time positions for nurses who have graduated within the previous 12 months. Employers applying for the funds are required to detail their plan for bridging new graduates into permanent positions. Nursing Mentorship ($1.4 million) This initiative will support experienced nurses who mentor newly hired nurses and/or support nursing students who are completing a clinical placement as part of their education. Employers will develop programs that seek the best way to use the expertise, knowledge and wisdom of experienced nurses for the benefit of new or student nurses. In turn, the new or student nurses will be able to adjust better to professional practice and the realities of the work environment. Funding will be awarded to health care organizations that propose the development of innovative and unique programs that address mentoring needs of nurses in long-term care, community health and public health. Employers are eligible to apply for funding both to create these mentorship programs and to receive retroactive funding for programs already underway. Clinical Simulation ($10 million) The government is investing in clinical simulation equipment - or clinical simulators - so that nursing students can be better prepared for their future work. The province's nursing schools will use these funds to purchase clinical simulators, which will be used to teach basic clinical and patient assessment skills to nursing students. Clinical simulators - which come in all sizes from babies to children to adults - are anatomically correct mannequins designed to exhibit signs and symptoms of injury and responses to treatments just as a human does. A computer runs the software which makes the life-size mannequins react physically to the treatment. Responses are also relayed to medical monitors attached to the simulators. For example, these clinical simulators will react to inhaled anesthetics and to a variety of drugs, which are injected from bar- coded syringes. These simulators allow nursing students to practise procedures and receive immediate feedback on their performance. Simulators offer the unique opportunity for students to mimic a real-life situation - without any potential for human harm or loss of life - while learning to reason through a clinical problem. This allows the students to develop critical thinking skills and competency based learning. The use of clinical simulators means students will have more educational opportunities in a safe and controlled environment, while reducing the burden on health care facilities to accommodate clinical placements. Previous Investments Today's announcement builds upon $89 million in investments that the government has already made to improve access to full-time employment opportunities and improve working conditions for nurses in hospitals: - $50M for full time nursing positions ($25M for large hospitals and $25M for smaller hospitals) - $25M to promote healthy work environments to purchase safety equipment such as bed lifts - $14M for patient lifts and patient safety equipment for larger hospitals. Helping Internationally Trained Nurses The Ontario government recently announced it will invest more than $2 million over three years to expand the Creating Access to Regulated Employment (CARE) for Nurses bridge training program and open new facilities in Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area. The program was created to increase the number of nurses in acute and long-term care by removing barriers that prevent internationally trained nurses from continuing their careers in Ontario. Prior to the establishment of the CARE program, only 33 per cent of internationally trained nurses passed the registration exam. In comparison, of the internationally trained nurses who graduate from the CARE program, more than 70 per cent pass the exam. More than 300 internationally trained nurses who have taken the program are now practicing in Ontario. The expansion of the program is expected to result in an additional 500 internationally trained nurses over the next three years. The McGuinty government is also working with the College of Nurses of Ontario to assist internationally trained nurses to find employment suited to their qualifications in the broader health care sector while they continue to upgrade their skills. To date, this program is offered at Algonquin College and a Francophone program is offered at La Cite Collegiale.For further information: Members of the media: Eva Lannon, (416) 327-4320, Minister's Office; Dan Strasbourg, (416) 314-6197, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; Members of the general public: (416) 327-4327, (800) 268-1154