Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


New guideline explores professionalism in nursing


TORONTO, March 28, 2007 – Nurses have been working as health-care professionals in Ontario for more than 100 years. Now, for the first time, a guideline has been developed to enable nurses to evaluate their professional behaviour and identify areas where they and the organizations they work for can improve.

“Professionalism in Nursing”, RNAO’s newest guideline, will be officially launched at the Nursing Leadership Network of Ontario’s annual conference being held at the Westin Prince Hotel in Toronto on Thursday, March 29 and Friday, March 30.

“In order to be a competent, professional nurse, you need to have up-to-date knowledge, you need to see yourself as a both a team player and an autonomous practitioner, and you need to embrace innovation,” explains Irmajean Bajnok, Director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) Centre for Professional Nursing Excellence and lead for the Healthy Work Environments Best Practice Guidelines Program. Bajnok says the other attributes of a professional nurse are: accountability, ethical behaviour, collaboration and collegiality. She anticipates an enthusiastic response from nurses.

“We had 120 stakeholders review the guideline and the nurses involved were very passionate about the subject matter. In any of the forums where this guideline has been discussed, it’s been standing room only,” says Bajnok.

Andrea Baumann, the Director of the Nursing Health Services Research Unit at McMaster University, is the chair of the committee that developed the guideline. She says the guideline will resonate with nurses because it addresses issues they’re struggling with on a daily basis. “The guideline will give practicing nurses insight into issues on professionalism and an opportunity to reflect on how their work environment supports or does not support professional practice,” says Baumann.

One of those issues is a nurse’s need to make independent decisions regarding patient care. The guideline encourages nurses to think critically and to regularly evaluate the decisions made as individuals and teams. “Nurses have a great role to play in areas like pain management, health promotion, preventing falls, wound care, chronic disease management and discharge planning. They have the autonomy to carry out interventions related to those areas and, in fact, they should exercise that autonomy,” says Bajnok.

In addition to exploring the attributes of professionalism, the guideline reinforces the role that nurses play in influencing positive health outcomes for their patients. “Achieving positive health outcomes for patients is the essence of professional nursing. Nurses in all roles need to know that the work they do is highly valued. The guideline will give them support and direction about how to live professionalism on a day to day basis. It is also a way to help nurses refresh,” says Bajnok.

Like the other five guidelines in RNAO’s series of Best Practice Guidelines on Healthy Work Environments, “Professionalism in Nursing” is designed to provide the best available evidence to support the creation of thriving work environments for nurses.

Launch of the “Professionalism in Nursing” Healthy Work Environment Best Practice Guideline at the Nursing Leadership Network of Ontario’s annual conference

The Westin Prince Hotel, 900 York Mills Road, Toronto

8:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., Thursday, March 29
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Friday, March 30

WHO: Nursing leaders from across Ontario
*The official launch of “Professionalism in Nursing” will take place on Thursday, March 29 from 3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. during the poster session and reception

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practice in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

For more information, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext.209
Cell: 647-406-5605