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Apathy is a risky thing


Dear editor, According to Elections Newfoundland and Labrador, only 62 per cent of the electorate casted a ballot in the general election in 2007 – the lowest voter turnout in over four decades. As we find ourselves in the midst of another general election, it can be easy for some of us to tune out the political rhetoric, press the mute button, and take a pass on the ballot box. But being indifferent costs all of us in the long run.

Why should we care? Because our health depends on it.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians need a sustainable health system that increasingly focuses on the health and well-being of people and their communities. Leading up to the election on Oct. 11, the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL) encourages you to urge your candidates to look at health in a comprehensive way. How do your candidates intend to strengthen the health care system? How do they plan to shift health care resources from a primary focus on institutional-based care to community-based services? What is their approach to addressing the needs of our seniors, as well as those living with mental illness or chronic disease? Your vote needs to support more coordinated investments in health promotion and disease prevention, and attention to housing, education, healthy foods, and other social determinants of health – all critical to promoting people’s health and to the sustainability of the health care system.

Sustainable health care also requires a hard look at health human resources to ensure that the health needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are being met, and can be met in the future.

Registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) in this province possess the education, skills, and expertise required to work with other members of a collaborative health care team to improve health services and to create a sustainable health system. To achieve this, the health care system needs to embrace the enhanced role that RNs and NPs can play in such areas as home and community care, and chronic disease prevention and management. A provincial approach that supports the concept of the right provider, in the right place, and at the right time ensures the best health outcomes for all of us.

Health care impacts everyone. While there are many positives in our health care system, there is also room for improvement. On Oct. 11, you have the power to lead change. Make your voice and your vote count for candidates who will put health care first.

Beverly White, RN, MScN, CCHN(C)

President

Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador

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