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TORONTO – The Ontario government’s recent proposed changes to health care professionals’ scope of practice excludes one vital group – registered practical nurses, says their union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Time and time again, Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) are overlooked when the government talks about using health care professionals to their full potential,” says Helen Fetterly, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE
“Fully utilizing the skills and experience of RPNs would ease the strain on our health care system and ensure better front-line care.  Let’s add RPNs to the list of health care practitioners whose scope of practice is expanded.”

RPNs are regulated by the College of Nurses of Ontario.  RPNs work in emergency departments, surgery units and teaching hospitals, but they are not able to practice to their full utilization.  Approximately 6000 of them are affiliated with CUPE in Ontario. CUPE is celebrating RPN Day this Friday, May 15, part of Nurses’ Week, to raise awareness that RPNs are a key part of Ontario’s health care solution.

Ontario needs to use all the professional health care staff it has to help overcome infectious disease transmission and overcrowding,” says Fetterly.  “RPNs are important members of the health care team caring who work in collaboration with Registered Nurses (RNs) and other professionals.  The Ontario government must include RPNs if it wants to make the best use of all health care professionals.”

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For more information:

Helen Fetterly, Secretary-Treasurer, OCHU/CUPE, cell 613-551-0688
David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell 613 878 1431