Ottawa – On National Nurse Practitioner Week, we recognize and celebrate the dedication of nurse practitioners (NPs) who provide essential care for us and our loved ones. Nurses make up Canada’s largest group of health professionals and with more than 400,000 members, they play a critical role in Canada’s health care system. They see people at their most vulnerable and provide continuous care, support and compassion no matter how hard it may get.
NPs are registered nurses who have additional education and training, which enables them to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication, among many other things. They often work in team-based health care settings directly with patients at every stage of life.
There is an urgent need to address current health workforce challenges, which are greatly impacting nurses’ physical and mental health – sometimes leading them to leave the profession. As part of our work to support health workers, our government is investing close to $200 billion over 10 years to improve health care for Canadians, which includes a focus on efforts to support the health workforce through retention and recruitment efforts, and to establish more team-based models of care.
In June 2023, Canada’s Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Leigh Chapman, hosted a Nursing Retention Forum, bringing together the nursing community, including NPs, employers, and frontline workers from across the country to discuss health workforce challenges and develop the Nursing Retention Toolkit. The toolkit will provide concrete tools and guides to employers to create work environments where nurses feel supported.
We will continue working with provincial and territorial partners to support health workers, and advance efforts that were discussed at the Health Ministers’ Meeting last month. We committed to focusing on nursing retention this year, and to expediting existing pathways to licensure for physicians and nurses as well as creating alternate pathways to get international educated health professionals in the health workforce faster.
Each day, NPs work tirelessly for long hours to help those in need. On behalf of the Government of Canada, we appreciate the care you provide to Canadians and the important role you play in our health and well-being. To all NPs, thank you for dedicating your lives and careers to keeping us safe and healthy. – Mark Holland, Ya’ara Saks