According to the Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS)1:
Active offer of social and health services in French consists in proactively offering, from the first contact with the patient, a set of services in French with confidence and conviction.
The active offer of social and health services in French is a matter of quality, safety, ethics and equity.
As a registered nurse, ensuring the safety of our patients is at the center of our daily work and all of our interventions or decisions are based on it. In the Code of Conduct of our professional order, whose mission is to ensure the protection of Ontarians, the safety and respect of our patients are among the six (6) guiding principles that the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) stated2.
It therefore seems quite natural that any nurse who is committed to providing safe care, and to meeting her professional obligations by the same token, implement the active offer of health services in French in her daily practice. Indeed, by demonstrating active offer with each of her patients from the first contact, each nurse has the power to ensure better access to care for the entire population. Access to health services is one of the determinants of health with which the Canadian government relies in deciding the organization of health services in Canada in order to achieve a reduction in health inequalities3. We therefore have a crucial role towards this goal and making active offer an essential tool in our work seems obvious.
In addition, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada4 reiterates that it is important that everyone's language rights be respected because our two (2) official languages have the same legal weight. As healthcare professionals, it is not up to us to determine the language of service. Patients should be allowed to choose in which official language they prefer their care. This shows the respect we have for each of them, an essential element in establishing a quality therapeutic relationship.
In order to better understand the active offer in order to put it into practice, the Réseau du mieux-être francophone du Nord de l’Ontario (RMEFNO) offers completely free online training5. This training, which consists of six (6) modules, can be completed at a time that suits you best regardless of your shift. At the end of the training, once you can demonstrate that you have acquired the expected knowledge, you receive a certificate of recognition. This certificate becomes an asset in any nurse's CV because it shows your commitment to developing nursing knowledge and offering quality care in your nursing practice.
More information regarding the RMEFNO’s training can be found here.
Lynn Aubuchon, RN, BScN, MSc Interdisciplinary Health, PhD (in progress)
Lecturer, Laurentian University