Dear Colleagues: Welcome to our Saturday, May 8 report during this fifteenth month of COVID-19 in Ontario. You can find earlier update reports here, including thematic pieces in Doris’ COVID-19 Blog. And, for the many resources RNAO offers on COVID-19, please visit the COVID-19 Portal where you will also find RNAO media hits and releases on the pandemic here. Daily Situational Reports from Ontario's MOH EOC can be found here. As always, feel free to share this report and links with anyone interested. Scroll down for information on several webinars in the next few weeks.
COVID-19 VIANurse – Critical care nurses - As informed earlier, RNAO has activated VIANurse to augment nursing HR in critical care. If you are a critical care nurse and you are available, or if you are an employer needing critical care nurses, please go to the VIANurse page here.
Employers: we still have about 400 RNs with specialty in critical care available to work.
nsure global vaccine access
Celebrating Nursing Week – May 10-16
Nursing Week is the annual celebration of our profession that always coincides with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, on May 12.
This year, it will be held May 10 to 16 and RNAO will be celebrating with the theme Protecting Ontarians and Leading Change: Nurses and RNAO during COVID-19. RNAO is proud to recognize all nurses for the quality of care they provide to patients, clients and long-term care residents. From the bedside to the classroom and the boardroom, nurses make Ontario, our country and the world a healthier place. See next our note of appreciation to nurses and visit the Nursing Week portal detailing activities taking place throughout the week. We invite RNAO members, colleagues from other professions and the public to join us as we salute the RNs, NPs, RPNs, and nursing students in Ontario, Canada and the world!
The World Health Organization has proclaimed 2021 as the International Year of Health and Care Workers to express gratitude for their unwavering dedication in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure all health workers are supported, protected, motivated and equipped to deliver safe health care at all times.
As we continue the battle against COVID-19, RNAO thanks all nurses – and especially Ontario’s registered nurses and nurse practitioners – who have spent 15 intense months on the front lines of care with great courage, expertise and compassion. You have led organizations. You have reorganized curriculums. You have worked on the front lines, putting patients, clients and residents first. You have saved lives and witnessed the loss of too many lives. You have experienced anguish and joy. You have felt despair and hope. You have experienced exhaustion and you have been reenergized. Above all, you have made a grand difference.
Your work in all sectors and roles shines and makes us proud. Nurses are the backbone of our health system and we couldn’t be prouder of you for your contributions. Today, more than ever, Ontario salutes you.
As we mark Nursing Week (May 10-16), RNAO would like to invite you to join us for a variety of virtual events to laugh, learn and honour you and the work of your colleagues. Despite these uncertain and stressful times, we should take pride in knowing that our profession and each nurse in Ontario, in Canada, and indeed the world over are changing lives for the better.
As we continue to face trying times, RNAO will continue to speak out with you and for you. We stand with you every minute of the day and every minute of the night – shift to shift. You are today’s Florence Nightingales bringing knowledge and compassion, light and hope, wherever you go.
We salute you with enormous gratitude, for who you are: a proud nurse. A promising nursing student.
For a full list of events that RNAO is hosting during Nursing Week, please scroll down or check out our Nursing Week portal.
Nurses must be fully vaccinated immediately, RNAO demands
Media release, May 7, 2021. As Nursing Week approaches (May 10 - 16), the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has a message for Premier Ford and his government: There is an immediate need for nurses to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
RNAO says the risks posed in hospital ICUs and other critical care units, emergency departments, operating rooms and other settings are too great and the lives of nurses needed to sustain a fragile health system battling COVID-19 must be fully protected.
“We’ve heard from hundreds of nurses in health organizations across the province who are gravely concerned. They are nursing patients who are extremely ill with COVID-19, they are giving it their all and they feel abandoned by a government that refuses to protect them fully,” says Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO’s CEO, adding she has repeatedly communicated this directly to the premier, minister of health and other government officials.
“Nursing Week begins on Monday and as we celebrate the contributions of registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and nursing students, I can tell you nurses want more than words of gratitude. They want to know that their lives matter to Ontario and to our government,” adds Grinspun.
RNAO says the government must ensure all nurses – starting with those working with COVID-19 patients – are immediately vaccinated with both COVID-19 doses. RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth says “getting second doses of the vaccine into nurses’ arms must be a priority to ensure we don’t end up with ill nurses – including as patients in ICU. This is critical to protect them and also to decrease the level of stress. We do not have a surplus of nurses so we have to make sure our colleagues are taken care of and respected for the work they do because their loved ones and our health system need them. So far we have received no assurances or a starting date from the premier or anyone on his team,” adds Hoffarth.
A bill to support individuals in their homes and communities with assistive devices for mental health
We appreciate the following contribution from RNAO member Cheryl Forchuk RN PhD O.ONT. FCAHS; Distinguished University Professor; Beryl and Richard Ivey Research Chair in Aging, Mental Health, Rehabilitation and Recovery; Lawson Health Research Institute, Western University. The article explains the importance of a private member’s bill submitted to the Ontario legislature: Bill 277 - Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Amendment Act: Supporting Individuals in their Homes and Communities with Assistive Devices for Mental Health, 2021. An
If you go to the Ontario Assistive Device program website, the first thing you will see is an overview which states: “Through the Assistive Devices Program (ADP), we help people with long-term physical disabilities pay for customized equipment, like wheelchairs and hearing aids.” Further down you will find many other examples of assistive devices from diabetic equipment to breast prostheses. Indeed, the provincial websites states over 8,000 different pieces of equipment are covered. What you might not realize is missing, are any devices specifically to support someone with a mental disability.
The program has been around for almost three decades. So, it is not surprising that in the last century people did not realize that people with mental disabilities could also be supported with assistive devices. However, in this century the use of smart technologies to support mental health care has flourished. During the pandemic almost all out-patient mental health services have pivoted to virtual care using phones, tablets, and other electronic devices.
Virtual care is the simplest example of mental health support requiring a device. A few years ago, I began work with several researchers from Lawson Health Research Institute (the research arm of the London hospitals) to envision how we could enhance mental health care with newer technologies. One of our early projects used a web-based app for community clients to have various individualized prompts and reminders related to their care, secure communication with their mental health care provider and the ability to set up personalized self-assessment tools among other functions. We had 400 people involved. The results were striking with the decrease in mental health crises. This meant fewer hospitalizations, fewer psychiatric emergency visits, and even fewer arrests. With the emphasis on self monitoring and early intervention, these results were achieved with one third fewer out-patient visits. It was cheaper to provide a phone, data plan and the app to connect the client and care provider, than to provide usual care.
But there was a problem with maintaining these positive results after the study. Although participants kept the phones, they could not afford the data plans. People with mental health diagnoses come from all socioeconomic circumstances. However, once diagnosed there is often a “drift” into poverty such that they are twice as likely as those without a disability to be living in poverty. How then will mental health care be accessed if one does not have a screen device or data plan?
When we completed this study and tried to figure out how the data plans could be maintained, we were surprised to learn that provincial support for assistive devices excluded people with mental illnesses. My local RNAO chapter, in collaboration with RNAO’s Mental Health Nurses Interest Group put forward a resolution in 2016 to lobby for an amendment to the legislation to ensure that people with mental illnesses could also access devices to support their community living. The resolution passed and initially some fruitful discussions were held. However, the momentum was lost with a change in government.
Since that time, we have had similar research success with different populations of people with mental illnesses and different technologies. For example, we have worked with at risk/street involved youth, to seniors with depression (who used tablet devices). In a recently completed study we looked at people requiring a higher dose of technology due to multiple health concerns, including serious mental illness that impacted functions such as memory and organization. We used the concept of smart homes to pull together several supportive devices. The specific devices were individualized according to the person’s needs. These included a choice of screen devices (phone, tablet or screen on wall) to send and receive messages, prompts and reminders; activity trackers to monitor steps, sleep, heart rate; Bluetooth enabled weigh scales; and an automatic medication dispenser that flashed when a medication was due. All devices were linked securely behind the hospital firewall so that information was available to both the client and their mental health care provider. People were able to reduce their admissions to hospital by avoiding crisis and reduced the number of required outpatient visits. Some people prior to the technology had up to four home visits a day simply to dispense medication. Importantly, participants were able to stay at home and manage their health more autonomously. During our end of study event for the smart home project, held virtually, a local MPP joined – Terrance Kernaghan. He was surprised, like many before him, to learn that assistive devices were not covered for mental health support. He has since submitted a private member’s bill to address this important issue: Bill 277 - Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Amendment Act (Supporting Individuals in their Homes and Communities with Assistive Devices for Mental Health, 2021).
The pandemic has reaffirmed that there can be no health without mental health. It was understandable that a program developed in the 20th century would not envision that assistive devices can help people with both mental and physical disabilities. In the 21st century we know new technologies are available to support mental as well as physical health. We need legislation that does not discriminate based on type of disability.
Action alert: Ensure global vaccine access, prime minister!
In July 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau’s signature was the first among eight world leaders on an open letter calling for global access to vaccines. The letter started with a quote from United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres: “None of us is safe until all of us are safe.”
RNAO believes this to be true. And so does U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration. Earlier this week, the U.S. declared its support for a patent waiver on COVID-19 vaccines, arguing that the global health crisis called for extraordinary measures. A patent waiver would boost the affordability, production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations around the world.
Join us in calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to walk the talk and ensure that Canada is leading the way to global vaccine access. Urge the prime minister to declare Canada’s support for a patent waiver on COVID-19 vaccines.
Sign the Action Alert here.
POLICY UPDATES FOR ALL TO ACT ON & MUST JOIN EVENTS – OPEN TO ALL
Take Your MPP To Work LIVE
RNAO’s Take Your MPP To Work (TYMTW) LIVE provides members with the opportunity to meet virtually with their local MPP.
Launching during Nursing Week, this event will give you an opportunity to share your experience with your MPP so they can better understand the depth of nursing practice challenges while caring for patients and communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
To organize your visit, please contact health policy coordinator, Ann-Marie at amorris@RNAO.ca.
Overview of RNCareers.ca and tips on cover letters and resumes
One-to-One Resume Review Sessions (two dates)
9 a.m.-12 p.m. ET (by appointment only)
Resume review is a virtual one-to-one 20-minute virtual session where you will receive feedback on your resume. Various RNAO staff and community partners will be involved in this event.
During your consultation, you will receive tailored feedback to improve the format, content, functionality and readability of your resume.
REGISTER NOW for May 13
Participants will receive a Zoom link with login instructions two days prior to their session.
Webinar: COVID-19 Webinar Series
May 10, 2021, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Kick off National Nursing Week with us; we will be dedicating our COVID-19 webinar to your stories.
Nurses, other health providers and members of the public are welcome to join our webinar to pay tribute to the roles nurses have played during the pandemic. This webinar is focused on good news. You can share examples, words or stories of the nurses’ leadership: Their knowledge, compassion, bravery, dedication, collaboration and creativity as they have given it their all for patients this past year. Together, we will create a virtual wall of appreciation where you can share stories, upload images, take photos and share GIFs. The wall can be shared within your networks and on social media. Let's take time to collectively honour nursing and reenergize ourselves and our colleagues. We are an awesome mosaic of human richness!
You can watch our April 12, 2021 webinar on Wave three: Update, advocacy and what's next?:
Ontario is now in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this webinar, Dr. Doris. Grinspun, RNAO's CEO, and colleagues provided an update on how the third wave is affecting nurses and Ontarians. Hear how RNAO, together with members and allies, are advocating for immediate actions to save lives, and long-term actions to right wrongs and establish justice for all. Learn about the next steps and how you can help shape the trajectory of this devastating virus and its variants.
Watch and read about earlier webinars here.
Nursing Now Ontario Awards Ceremony
May 12, 2021, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
The Nursing Now Ontario Awards celebrate the contribution of nurses who improve the health outcomes of Ontarians and who contribute to nursing practice. Awards are presented to one winner in three categories: registered practical nurse (RPN), registered nurse (RN) and nurse practitioner (NP).
The awards ceremony takes place during Nursing Week 2021 (May 10 – 16).
After receiving 213 nominations, the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), RNAO and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN) will recognize the award recipients during a special ceremony on May 12, 2021 at 2 p.m. (ET). The event will be held virtually on Zoom. The awards fall on the same day as the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing.
This awards program builds on the goals of the Nursing Now campaign, a global initiative aimed at raising the profile of the profession and improving health around the world through nursing. The campaign calls on governments, health professionals and service users to champion the role of nurses in clinical practice, policy and political leadership.
Please register to join us for this celebration.
Webinar: Continuing the Conversation - An Open Forum for Nurses
May 12, 2021, 3:00pm - 4:30pm
RNAO is aware nurses across Ontario – especially those working on the frontlines of COVID-19 – are experiencing tremendous levels of physical and emotional stress and burnout. We know this can affect your mental health and wellbeing at this challenging time and that you may have less time to devote to your own self care.
During these biweekly open forums, RNAO facilitates open discussions and holds breakout sessions for participants to discuss themes identified in the previous forums, such as dealing with multiple losses, taking care of yourself, burnout and more.
All RNs, NPs, RPNs and nursing students – in all roles and sectors – are invited to participate. You may wish to share how things are going for you or you can simply join and listen in.
RNAO recognizes that these past 15 months of the pandemic have been grueling for nurses. Our Work and Wellbeing Survey results showed that 13 per cent of RNs and NPs aged 26-35 are likely to leave the profession once the pandemic is over. We cannot let this happen!
On Wednesday, May 12 – Florence Nightingale’s birthday, we are focusing our conversation on initiatives to be undertaken to retain RNs and NPs in the profession. We are inviting politicians to join the conversation to hear directly from nurses about what they need to thrive in the profession.
Webinar: Let’s Talk about Anti-Black Racism and Discrimination in Nursing
May 17, 2021, 2:30 - 4 p.m. ET
Topic: An intergenerational conversation: Addressing anti-Black racism
This is a monthly webinar series designed for nurses interested in receiving updates on RNAO’s Black Nurses Task Force and to engage them in meaningful conversations that will inform the work of the Task Force. The Black Nurses Task Force has a mandate to tackle anti-Black racism and discrimination within the nursing profession. Read more here.
Register for the May 17 webinar here.
Mark your calendar: 96th Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Jun 24 – Jun 26, 2021
RNAO’s 96th AGM will be held virtually on June 24 - 26, 2021. Details on how to join the live streamed events will be posted in early June.
Mark your calendar for the signature events:
For updated information visit the AGM page here.
For a recap on last year's virtual AGM, please visit our AGM portal.
NP Institute a success
Nurse practitioners (NP) are playing an important role in our health system during this pandemic and are shaping the health system for the future. That’s why on April 21, RNAO hosted its NP Institute to discuss and debate learnings from COVID-19 for NP practice and health system performance. Links to the program and featured speakers are here.
The one-day virtual event was moderated by RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun and NP Interest Group Chair Sally Baerg. The event heard from a variety of speakers including President and CEO of Ontario Health Matthew Anders; Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco and President and CEO of Healthcare Excellence Canada Jennifer Zelmer. Discussions focused on several topics such as quality and safety during the pandemic, coaching NPs of the future and NP research and QI projects.
The closing keynote presentation focused on RNAO’s NP Task Force and the release of its recent report Vision for Tomorrow. The report examines the significant contributions NPs have made over the decades and looks at the role through the lens of health system transformation as well as outlines eight recommendations to recognize the critical role NPs play in Ontario’s health system.
MOH EOC Situational Report
We are posting each day the Daily Situational Reports from Ontario's MOH EOC at RNAO’s website. That way, you can access the Ministry’s guidance at any time.
For a more detailed Ontario epidemiological summary from Public Health Ontario, you can always go here.
Here is a segment from the Situation Report #425 for May 7 (no report on May 8):
Staying in touch
Keeping in touch is now more important than ever. Feeling that you are part of a community and that we have your back will help you get through this challenging time. We are also eager to hear from you how we can best support you. Send to us your questions, comments, and challenges. Feel free to also recommend ideas for future webinars. Send these to me at email@example.com and copy my executive assistant, Peta-Gay (PG) Batten email: firstname.lastname@example.org. RNAO’s Board of Directors and our entire staff want you to know: WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!
Thank you all for being there for our communities – everywhere and in all roles! Together, in solidarity, we are stronger and more resilient. These continue to be tough times and we have to reach out to one another in solidarity! Our government, the public and indeed all health professionals – must keep focused. There is hope at the end of this long tunnel. Vaccines are being delivered in large quantities and now we need to fasten the rollout! Hugely important is to continue fighting the spread of the virus to preserve lives. To everyone and most especially our colleagues working in the front lines here at home and in countries around the world hit hard by evil COVID-19 – THANK YOU, and please take care of yourselves and know that RNAO always stands by you!
As we have said before and everyday more true: The silver lining of COVID-19: Coming together and working as one people – for the good of all!
Doris Grinspun, RN,MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), Dr(hc), FAAN, FCAN, O.ONT
RECENT BLOG ITEMS:
1 May - RNAO statement on the passing of RN Lorraine Gouveia – go here
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24 April - RNAO launches new policy webpages – go here
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17 April - Vaccine engagement as a tool to address marginalization and exclusion – go here
17 April - Here's how the COVID-19 pandemic could play out in 2021 and beyond – go here
17 April - Reacting to the latest Ontario government public health measures – go here
10 April - RNAO and NAN sign Relationship Accord to improve health across NAN Territory – go here
10 April - RNAO media release on public health measures and vaccination rollout – go here
10 April - 3 ways to vaccinate the world and make sure everyone benefits, rich and poor – go here
3 April - Government’s “shutdown” announcement doesn’t go far enough – go here
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27 Mar - Provincial budget fails to deliver urgent nursing investments to care for Ontarians – go here
27 Mar - Government's reopening plan threatens the health of Ontarians – go here
20 Mar - Preliminary results of RNAO‘s Work and Wellbeing Survey – go here
13 Mar - Getting it right – go here
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6 Mar - RNAO’s continuing media profile: The February report – go here
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6 Mar - Webinar: Understanding wellness in Indigenous wisdom traditions for caregivers – go here
27 Feb - RNAO celebrates Black History Month 2021 – go here
27 Feb - RNAO’s 21st annual Queen’s Park Day goes virtual – go here
27 Feb - RNAO’s NP Task Force releases groundbreaking report – Vision for Tomorrow – go here
20 Feb - Are you struggling with substance use and/or mental illness? – go here
20 Feb - RNAO hears about COVID-19: A heart-to-heart dialogue for nurses – go here
20 Feb - With new variants growing, concerns mount about the premature lifting of restrictions – go here
18 Feb - Anti-Black racism and discrimination in nursing: The power of mentorship in nursing education – go here
13 Feb - RNAO’s letter to the premier on the vaccine rollout and the current context – go here
6 Feb - Use community care providers to ramp up vaccinations! – go here
6 Feb - RNAO’s continuing media profile: The January report – go here
30 Jan - The PrOTCT plan for nurses: Counseling vaccine hesitant patients & colleagues – go here
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23 Jan - Mitigating the spread in Toronto shelter settings – go here
23 Jan - Home care nurses are #ReadyToVaccinate – go here
23 Jan - Hurtful comments about law enforcement – go here
15 Jan - The escalating catastrophe of the COVID-19 second wave in Ontario – go here
15 Jan - Progress in vaccine distribution: Updates, issues and concerns – go here
8 Jan - RNAO raises its voice in the media: Media coverage in December 2020 – go here
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8 Jan - RNCareers: Help during the holidays and help for next phases of this pandemic – go here
We have posted earlier ones in my blog here. I invite you to look.
Public Health Ontario maintains an excellent resource site on COVID-19 materials.
Ontario’s health provider website is updated regularly with useful resources.
Ontario’s public website on the COVID-19 is there to inform the general public – encourage your family and friends to access this public website. The WHO has provided an excellent link for you to share with members of the public here.
Health Canada's website provides the best information capturing all of Canada. It contains an outbreak update, Canada's response to the virus, travel advice, symptoms and treatment, and resources for health professionals.
You can find up-to-date global numbers in Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE.
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