Fully Utilizing Nurse Practitioners in Response to COVID-19

March 20, 2020

Ontario is facing an unprecedented need for effectively trained health professionals to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are hearing from all parts of the health system that current self quarantine measures, combined with child care concerns due to closed schools, are causing shortages of trained HHR across the system, particularly in hard hit hospitals and rural communities.

Nurse practitioners stand ready to help. We at the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario have been hearing urgent calls from our members to help any way they can. We are able to activate large numbers of highly trained NP professionals who are currently not fully employed to help wherever they are needed.

The NPAO is requesting that the Ministry of Health work with us to develop a plan to rapidly deploy NPs to sites where they are most needed. NPAO is actively collecting names of nurse practitioners that are ready to be deployed into areas of need.

What We Know

  • NPAO has over 100 NPs listed as wanting to help;
  • NPs are ready and willing to help with the Covid 19 crisis;
  • 20% of the NP workforce in Ontario is unemployed or under-employed;
  • NPs will ease the burden on struggling community providers; and,
  • NPs will provide the necessary care required in under-serviced areas;
  • An urgent remuneration strategy must be developed for employers to access to hire qualified NPs.

Key Areas Where Nurse Practitioners can help for COVID-19 Response

NPs are currently available to:

  • Work in rural and remote and acute care areas
  • Provide telemedicine healthcare
  • Telehealth and assist, triage and test

Challenges currently faced by Nurse Practitioners and NPLCs

We would like to highlight the following challenges currently faced by our members
for planning consideration:

  • Adequate PPE
  • Need to self-isolate and lack of qualified staff to assume vacant role
  • Ability to manage the increasing number of care/information requests
  • Lack of adequate funding to employ NP replacements

The NPs in Ontario are ready to help. We look forward to discussing our increased participation as soon as possible,

Dawn Tymianski
CEO, Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario

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