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Apr 15

Election update 1: meeting my candidates

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UPDATE: Alberta Election 2012

So, today I met with my local candidates in the Progressive Conservative and New Democratic parties. I’d like to bring you up to speed on what I learned. My focus in each meeting was to share some information from a registered nursing perspective, and leave them with a question to ponder.

I learned:

  • Politicians are people too. I found each of the candidates a little tired; they are all working hard to connect with as many voters as possible–no one is more aware than they are that this election will be the most hard fought in decades.
  • The Progressive Conservative candidate in my riding is an RN, and responded well to my suggestion that to date, her leader, Alison Redford, had not done a very good job of speaking to and about Registered Nurses to this point in the campaign–and she tells me that the Progressive Conservatives are very well aware that RNs play a key role in any model of health care one happens to believe in. (She pledged to pass the word along, so I’ll be listening to see if the silence on RNs continues). She expressed unequivocal support for universally accessible, public funded health care, and shared my concerns at the state of Senior’s Care in Alberta. The information I shared with her is how concerned RNs are with the lack of “connection” in the health care system–the siloes in care continue, with few paying attention to the SYSTEM part of the health care system. The question I left her with: how can RNs engage more frequently and regularly in policy level discussions, especially given that senior nursing leadership has been hit so hard in the restructuring of the health care system?
  • The ND candidate in my riding is eloquent on the environment, and much more informed on the broader determinants of health (income, education, etc), and how those might be reflected in policy. He admitted that he knew little about the “health care system” per se, but expressed repeatedly that an ND government knows what it doesn’t know, and pledged a philosophy of engaging stakeholders in addressing issues. The information I shared with him was that RNs continue to be concerned with the ever-worsening nursing shortage, and the growing lack of RN presence/oversight in long term care and supportive living environments for the aged.The question I left him with: if we have a minority government and the NDs hold the balance of power as some predict, how with they engage with RNs to help them learn “what they don’t know” about health care?
  • NEXT WEEK: PART 2–Wildrose and Liberal candidates.

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