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, MLA Kirkfield Park
May 6, 2013

National Nursing Week

Mr. Speaker, this week is National Nursing Week, when we recognize all of the nurses and nurse practitioners across Manitoba who are so crucial to our health and to the health of our loved ones.

This year's theme for National Nursing Week is Nursing: A Leading Force for Change, and I couldn't agree more, Mr. Speaker. Our nurses are the face of our health-care system, and Manitoba is blessed with many outstanding professionals, researchers, students and educators who are visionaries and leaders in the field. Indeed, we have 20 per cent more nurses per capita than the Canadian average.

We all remember what it was like not so very many years ago when our nursing workforce was under attack and over 1,000 nurses were fired. That is why I am proud to be part of a government that believes in investing in nurses and in health care. We have hired three nurses for every one that was fired in the '90s, and we have more than doubled the number of training seats for nurses and are attracting hundreds of these crucial staff from other provinces and from around the world, Mr. Speaker. I was part of those initiatives, doing training for Red River College's joint baccalaureate and diploma nursing programs, and heard many of the stories from the previous decade.

We are also working to expand the role of our nurses, and I was delighted to be part of the announcement this morning for the new Cancer QuickCare Clinic and Cancer HelpLine which will open this fall and which will be staffed by nurses and nurse practitioners.

Likewise, we are deeply committed to ensuring safety for nurses and other health-care professionals in the delivery of patient care. Last week, our government announced a new violence prevention policy which will encourage facilities to implement steps to prevent violence and increase security. We want employees, patients and families to feel safer and we want to make sure we can recruit and retain health professionals to deliver care patients need.

On behalf of all honourable members, I would like to thank Manitoba's nurses for their hard work and dedication. You are truly leaders in improving the lives of Manitobans.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.