Let us remind everyone that May 16 is Registered Practical Nurses (RPN) day, and take this opportunity to recognize the precious contribution of RPNs to our health care system. Registered practical nurses (RPNs) are regulated by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). In Ontario, RPNs are working in emergency departments, surgery units and teaching hospitals. Approximately 6000 of them are affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario.
RPNs provide quality care for patients. They are important professional members of the health care team caring for patients independently and working in collaboration with Registered Nurses (RNs) and other professionals.
One of the reasons for hospital RN and physician shortage is the lack of opportunities that RPNs have in Ontario to practice what is known as their full “scope of practice” or all of their nursing skills. Approximately $32 million in Ontario each year is invested in the education of RPNs and when RPNs aren’t allowed to practice fully some of this funding is wasted.
Recognizing fully the work that RPNs do and can do would come a long way to relieving some of the current pressures on our overstretched health care system.
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Judy Bain, Executive member
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE)
Benoit Renaud, CUPE Communications