With pressure still continuing on the healthcare system across the country, the federal government has appointed Lee Chapman to the position of Canada’s Chief Nursing Officer (CNO). Chapman’s role will be to represent nurses at the federal level, providing strategic advice from a nursing perspective to Health Canada as it faces calls to do more to stem the crisis.
“Many healthcare professionals, including nurses, are currently facing enormous challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic… In fact, there are already a number of jurisdictions in Canada that are reporting nursing shortages, affecting the work of emergency rooms and the Health Jean-Yves Duclos unveils Chapman as a selection for the position “other important health services Canadians need and deserve.”
“With this growing crisis, we need to support our nurses, make sure their voices are heard, and that the challenges they face are addressed with solutions. We need the right advice and expertise to guide our path forward,” Duclos said Tuesday. “We all look forward to learning from Dr. Chapman’s extensive experience and vision…I am very confident that she will increase the visibility, input and impact of Canadian nurses nationally.”
Chapman – Registered Nurse (RN) with nearly 20 years of experience and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto School of Nursing – he will fill a role that the Liberals pledged to bring back earlier this year.
Duclos said she will be involved in health system-wide policy development, work with regulators and educators, play a collegial role with provincial and territorial governments, and represent the federal government in public health forums inside and outside Canada.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Chapman said she’s looking forward to taking on the role, pledging to collaborate with nurses, regulators and teachers on the front lines to advance the profession and amplify the difference she said she’s seen nurses make in patients’ lives.
“It has been a very difficult time over the course of the pandemic. We have nurses doing end-of-life care with an iPad, and working for a very short time beyond what could have been imagined. So first of all, my letter is a thank you to those who have worked in different capacities during the pandemic.” “I really hope that the nurses in the profession will find resources to survive, and I hope we can make the workplace fit for that as well. Because we absolutely need all hands on deck.”
Among the issues she will advise on are workforce planning, long-term care, palliative care, mental health care, and substance abuse. The appointment is for two years, with the possibility of extension.
In February, when Duclos announced that the federal government would restore a position that had been abolished in 2012, he noted the role nurses – Canada’s largest group of regulated health professionals – have played during the COVID-19 pandemic. The move was praised by nursing organizations, who have been pressing for the position to be revived.
“The Canadian National Council will strengthen Canada’s health system by providing strategic policy advice from a nursing perspective to Health Canada. It will also be essential in supporting the national response to the significant shortage of health human resources that exists across the country, and in the stability of nursing,” the Canadian Nurses Association said in a statement. A statement at the time that the workforce is out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada’s first nursing officer was appointed in 1968, and in 1999 the Office of Nursing Policy was established within the Strategic Policy Branch of Health Canada.
The government said the decision to drop the post a decade ago was due to a “redistribution of resources according to priorities.”
“However, in this current environment, CNOs are seen as an important role and have been resourced accordingly,” the government said in a statement on Tuesday.
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