Nursing Potential – Optimizing Nursing and Primary Health Care
Since the Romanow Report (2002) and long before, experts and policymakers have told us that the future of healthcare depends upon building a robust primary healthcare system. Nurses on the front lines of care have said the same thing – patients need a system that addresses the social determinants of health while providing preventative care, chronic disease management, and health education, reducing the need for emergency and hospital care.
Nurses possess a tremendous wealth of knowledge about how our health system works, and plenty of ideas about how it could work better. For these reasons, the NSNU embarked on research last year to make recommendations on how we can build better access to primary care. Our Nursing Potential – Optimizing Nursing and Primary Health Care report and campaign are a tribute to nurses’ knowledge, and an opportunity to share it with the broader public.
Many people lack primary healthcare providers, with some communities worse off than others; we struggle to access care outside of regular hours; we rely heavily on our emergency care system; we struggle with integration between our health sectors (hospital care, homecare, long-term care, primary healthcare, mental health); we have an ageing population with the highest rates of chronic disease in the country; and we do not make optimal use of all health professionals. Nurses are well-positioned to address these challenges.
Nothing we state detracts from the need to recruit and retain doctors in our province, a goal we whole-heartedly endorse. We assert that with registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse practitioners practicing to their full potential, Nova Scotians benefit more from nurses’ expertise and care.
The Nurses’ Union is ready to work with all partners to improve healthcare on the foundations of a stronger primary healthcare system. We are proud to advocate for nurses and the public, and when we recognize nurses’ potential, we will improve access and provide better care.