The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario is making 24 recommendations to improve the nursing profession.

The RNAO says it includes a competitive compensation package and hiring focused on full-time employment.

Chief Executive Officer Dr. Doris Grinspun says the real income of nurses has been falling since 2010, and were further impacted by Bill 124.

“Nurses feel devalued and professionals as professionals, despite their education and skill set,” says Grinspun. “Inadequate compensation doesn’t just affect individual nurses. Whole sectors of practice, such as primary care, home care, and long-term care, are even more so affected, so retention and recruitment become immensely challenging.”

Grinspun says nurses should also be making the same amount of money no matter if they are in a hospital, long-term care facility or home care.

The RNAO also wants to expand the scope of practice and efforts to attract more young people into the profession by further expanding nursing programs.

“We have a 24,000 shortfall compared to the rest of the country. Let me repeat. Every single effort needs to continue and increase, and new efforts need to be put in place.”

Grinspun says that includes fast-tracking the registration of internationally-trained nurses, noting 6 thousand RNs still waiting to gain approval.