Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Mind the Safety Gap in Health System Transformation

Mind the Safety Gap in Health System Transformation: Reclaiming the Role of the RN

Ontario's health system is at a critical juncture. With its Patients First initiative, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has indicated major changes are on the horizon that will shift health care into the community, and provide more co-ordinated health services. This bold strategy proposes to create the kind of system Ontarians want and deserve, but RNAO's research suggests the province may not currently have the health human resources (HHR) to make it a reality.

For the groundbreaking Mind the Safety Gap in Health System Transformation: Reclaiming the Role of the RN report, RNAO analyzed recent trends in nursing skill mix utilization and models of care delivery. We found the current state of nursing -- the largest workforce in the Ontario health system -- is at odds with the government's Patients First goals. In an effort to cut costs, health organizations across the province are replacing registered nurses (RN) with less qualified care providers, and resorting to task-oriented models of nursing that fragment care delivery. As a result, the RN share of the nursing work force has dropped significantly in recent years. This has left Ontario's health system unprepared to meet rising levels of acuity in hospitals and in the community, and put the safety of Ontarians at risk.

Thankfully, these dangerous trends are reversible. In this report, RNAO delivers eight evidence-based recommendations across all health sectors to reclaim the role of the RN, and help government achieve its goal of putting patients first.

To learn more about RNAO's research and recommendations, read the full Mind the Safety Gap in Health System Transformation report and speaking notes.

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