Changes coming to nurse registration in NWT

On May 6, Rommel Silverio (left), president of RNANT/NU and HSS Minister Glen Abernethy signed an MOU bringing changes to nurse registration in the territory. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).

To kick off National Nurses Week, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (RNANT/NU) signed and Memorandum of Understanding to introduce a single regulatory body for all nurses in the territory.

Right now, nursing positions are registered differently—if at all—in the NWT. For example, registered nurses apply through the RNANT/NU while Licensed Practical Nurses go through the Department of Health and Social Services.

The idea is to have all nurses register through the RNANT/NU. Having a single regulatory body ensures consistency and safety for residents, says Rommel Silverio, the organization’s president.

During the signing, Chief Nursing Officer Jo-Anne Hubert said she never thought she’d see the announcement in her career. She credited the change to other jurisdictions moving towards a single regulatory body as well.

Department of Health and Social Services Minister Glen Abernethy said this was only the first step as the change would require amendments to the Nursing Profession Act.

Asked about possible financial implications, he said, “All the details still need to be worked out, but RNANT/NU will be taking on additional workload without question and we will be reducing workload… We will certainly be having those conversations to figure out what the magnitude will be.

Abernethy added that the changes wouldn’t be done within the lifetime of this government but was confident the work would be completed next year.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com