We met Dr. Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario at the National Forum on Patient Experience West.
Strategy Institute: Okay, so just to start, give us an overview of what you do and the organizational work that you do.
Doris: R.A.N.O. is a living organization in the area of a clinical and healthy work environment, best practice guidelines which includes, of course, guidelines on client-centered care on therapeutic relationships, on patient-centered teaching and on a variety of other topics that all bring us back to the importance of being centred about the people that we so much need to assist or work with. Our analysis of leading organizations, the professional body for registered nurses in Ontario is a leading organization at the policy level, so that’s another huge, important pillar, and when you look at policy, and you look at for example how to advance, full scope of practice for nurses, how to advance access to care for people; they go side by side.
We look at how to advance health and wellness for the people in Ontario for that market in Canada, that’s where social determinants of health come to play, environmental determinants of health. So, at the end of the day, we contribute tremendously to a patient-centered care from a universal access perspective and bring the experience of people to table to contribute to the design of the system.
Strategy Institute: Fantastic! So, because you’re at the forefront and you have all these nurses giving you this feedback about interacting with the people who are receiving this care, what do you think are the most pressing issues that organizations are facing when they’re trying to achieve this level of patient experience?
DORIS: First of all to ensure that everybody can achieve a good experience, not only some and that’s where the issue of universal access and timely access in all geographical areas of the province, in all sectors not only hospital care but community care are critically important. And then that experience be the most positive and relevant one for people.
All the way from public health to primary care to community care to home care, hospital care, palliative care, that the experience be a seamless one, and still is to this day sectoral. That the transitions of care or the transitions of access to care for people are still a tremendous period. That’s where, again, the role of a registered nurse, they provide full scope of practice can hugely, hugely improve timely access to care anywhere, in the country and anywhere in the province. The role of nurse practitioners, the role of nurse anaesthetists, etc.
At the core of it is the values, right, the values that the nurses bring to the system, and those values need to be – and also for organizations – need to be fully anchored in a person perspective, and what’s best for the citizens, for the people that live here, and what’s best for immigrants, what’s best for people in marginalized communities, what’s best for people in affluent communities, for everybody, right, so that people don’t experience systemic discrimination in the access they have to healthcare and then, of course, the quality of healthcare services they receive. So, we work very, very diligently and intensely, with nurses, we also work in the same intense way with civil society groups to bring and to understand their perspective, so we can together shape the system of tomorrow.
We work of course with higher levels of administration on all healthcare organizations, hospitals, homecare, etc. and with governments and with all political parties. And in that also you have a play of the media, how the media can assist us in moving the agenda of a timely access everywhere for people and in a way that is relevant and centered on their needs, not the needs of healthcare professionals or of specific sectors.
Strategy Institute: That’s actually a very good point. Because media can be a driving force and can force those political parties to move forward with those kinds of methods. That’s really great, thank you.
DORIS: Well, we work very heavily with the media because through the media we bring the voice of the perspectives of patients, of families, people, residents in long term care facilities, etc. and of nurses, so that’s a hugely important medium, the media, to really master the political will, to move in a direction that will benefit all Ontarians.
Strategy Institute: Fantastic, and you spoke at the event earlier today, and you attended yesterday….
DORIS: Yesterday I couldn’t attend because I was engaged in a tremendous community-based consultation with people with real, live experience in poverty, so people that spoke about unemployment from their own perspective, people that spoke about disabilities from their own perspective, people that spoke about addictions, people that live with the burden of being addicted, single mothers, single fathers, new immigrants. We are jointly working for change with an umbrella organization for civil society groups, where we brought together many, many voices, from social insurance issues to minimum wage issues and groups that are working to actually hear from the lived experience of people no different than what we are talking today – just not in an illness mode, but actually, in a “how do we help people that are struggling with poverty to give voice to their voice”, because we know that social developments of health is a critical actually determinant of health, if you end up ill or not.
So, with it, that consultation for almost 3 hours, with all the politicians there, but more importantly, with people from the public, so much like you have today 6 or 7 individuals were presenting the public, this was the public and very few healthcare professionals that we were learning from them to really move the agenda together forward, so that’s why I couldn’t be here. I’m sorry…I needed to know the importance of their perspectives which I learnt a lot.
Strategy Institute: That’s really, really interesting, of course it’s very important for work like this because, as we’re speaking from the patient voice, the public voice is just as equally important.
DORIS: It’s the same! Patients are first persons and then they sometimes happen to have a diagnosis of an illness, but they’re people like you and me and anybody else and tomorrow you may be a patient too. Yesterday I may have been a patient so you know we better start to walk the dog, listen, understand, and walk the dog in all of the organizations of the healthcare system of tomorrow.
Strategy Institute: Perfect, and just one last question, how would you describe your experience at the event overall? You were both on stage this morning, and attending some of the sessions…
DORIS: I really enjoyed the variety of perspectives. I very much enjoyed what’s happening in some healthcare organizations, it’s very important work they’re doing. I also enjoyed even more so the views of patients when they spoke, the courage that it takes for someone to share very difficult moments and hopefully we all have the same courage to hear what you are saying and then to take action in all of our organizations.
Strategy Institute: Thank you so much…
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