The health needs of Canadians are changing. Healthcare professionals of the future will need to care for a larger and older Canadian population, and operate under tighter budgets. To meet these challenges head on, our healthcare system must evolve to be more effective and efficient, while the role of Canada’s registered nurses (RNs) must expand to better reflect their specialized knowledge and skills.

RNs already provide evidence-based, patient-centered care to Canadians. Studies have consistently shown that RN care translates to better patient outcomes. If we’re to maintain a strong, publicly funded, not-for-profit healthcare system that stands as a model for the world, Canada’s RNs must be used to their full potential.

Efforts to keep Canadians healthy must begin long before they get sick. RNs in 2030 will play leading roles in health promotion and disease prevention.

So what will the healthcare system in 2030 look like? First and foremost, healthcare is a human right, not a privilege. It needs to be accessible to all, regardless of financial means or geographical location. In 2030, an effective healthcare system will employ more RNs per population. With their roles and responsibilities increased, they will help ensure same-day access for all Canadians. Highly-educated nurse practitioners (NPs) will be able to lead their own primary care clinics and streamline the patient experience.

Allowing RNs to practice to their full scope will give Canadians more bang for their healthcare buck. In 2030, RNs across the country will be diagnosing patients, prescribing medications and ordering tests. Patients will see the right health professional for the level of care they require, at the right time and in the right place—closer to home.

Healthcare services in 2030 won’t be limited to hospitals and primary care clinics. Many RNs will bring their expertise right to the patient’s doorstep as Canada increasingly uses home-care as a preferred option. Treating patients at home will be cost effective, reduce the strain on our hospitals, and allow Canada’s aging population to live independently as vibrant members of their communities.

Efforts to keep Canadians healthy must begin long before they get sick. RNs in 2030 will play leading roles in health promotion and disease prevention. RNs will continue to be actively advocating healthy public policy to make sure all Canadians have proper housing and livable wages, because they know the link between social conditions and health. Since a healthcare system cannot function without a healthy environment, RNs in 2030 will continue to promote the importance of safe food and water, clean air, and sustainable environmental practices—much like this generation of nurses.

The RNs of 2030 will be champions for all aspects of health. Their expertise will guide our evolving healthcare system, and keep Canadians healthier inside and out of hospitals.

About the author

Dr. Doris Grinspun

Dr. Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), O.ONT. is a registered nurse, and CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). She has worked in practice and administrative capacities in Canada, Israel and the United States. Doris, who was born in Chile, has an RN diploma from Hadassah School of Nursing in Jerusalem, a baccalaureate degree from Tel Aviv University, a master of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan, a PhD in Sociology at York University, and was awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).