Mr. Speaker, to advance our government’s commitment towards community wellness and safety, we are taking steps to improve care for our people by working with the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, to explore the creation of one self-regulatory framework for all nursing professionals in the NWT.
Currently, to practice in the NWT, registered nurses and nurse practitioners apply for licensing to the Association, while licensed practical nurses apply for licensing to the Department of Health and Social Services. This dual registration process can be confusing for nurses, including new graduates as well as those relocating to the NWT.
Removing barriers so that nurses can provide invaluable health services and care, and improving the ways that we support our nurses doing their work, is what is driving our work with Association.
Mr. Speaker, nurses are the heart of our health system. They are often the first point of contact for individuals seeking health care in our communities, and they provide invaluable services. As highly visible role models, nurses promote healthy living by personally adopting a healthier lifestyle and by encouraging residents to make healthier choices. Today’s nurses not only serve at the frontline, but publish scientific research, develop mobile medical applications and are actively engaged in addressing health care policy. They are the face of health care for many in the North and collaborate with their colleagues, from social workers and physicians, to hospital administrators and public safety personnel, to ensure that our residents are taken care of and are receiving quality care.
This is why, as part of National Nursing Week earlier this month, and in recognition of the exceptional service that nurses provide to residents and communities on a daily basis, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mr. Romeo Silverio, President of the Registered Nurses Association of the NWT and Nunavut. This MOU commits the Department of Health and Social Services and the Association to create one regulatory framework for all nurses.
Having one body that regulates the practice of nursing for all Registered Nurses, Nurse practitioners, Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses in the NWT will streamline licensing, and ensure all nurses have greater access to training and resources to perform their scope of practice safely and collaboratively within the health system.
Mr. Speaker, to establish a single body that can regulate all nursing professions we will require adjusting the legislative framework. This project will hopefully be completed during the life of the 19th Legislative Assembly. As we are nearing the end of the 18th Legislative Assembly, we felt that it was important to start this work now by solidifying our intent to carry out this work in the years to come.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all of our nursing professionals throughout the Northwest Territories for being the face of health care in many of our communities. Working closely with the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, our government is committed to finding ways to advance our goal of Best Health, Best Care for A Better Future by improving the care we provide to residents.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.