Ensuring The Care Will Be There: A Report on Recruitment and Retention in Ontario addresses key issues for Ontario nurses and the public. This Recruitment and Retention Report is a response to an imminent and severe nursing shortage across Canada.
Over the past two decades, the nursing profession has been buffeted by sharp changes in employment opportunities. Sudden drops in employment, driven by cuts in funding, drove people away from nursing and turned into dangerous shortages in supply. To avoid problems throughout the health-care system, the emerging nursing shortage must be immediately attended to. We must act now!
This report owes its existence to provincial government recognition that an adequate supply of motivated and qualified nurses is fundamental to the health and well-being of Ontarians. In September 1998, the Honourable Elizabeth Witmer, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, responded to the nursing profession’s call for action on the pending shortage and other nursing resource issues by establishing the Nursing Task Force. The Task Force "was directed to examine the level of access to quality nursing services and to identify changes in nursing related to health-care reform. The Task Force was also asked to assess how these changes may affect both health-care professionals and health-care consumers."
The January 1999 Report of the Nursing Task Force - Good Nursing, Good Health: An Investment for the 21 st Century (Queen's Printer for Ontario), contained eight recommendations regarding nursing in Ontario. The government of Ontario accepted and committed to implement all the recommendations in March 1999. Recommendation 4 focused on encouraging women and men to choose nursing as a career and on the retention and recruitment of registered nurses and registered practical nurses.
Nursing Task Force Recommendation 4:
Continuity and quality of care is highly dependent on the retention of experienced and knowledgeable nurses and requires not only a sufficient number of permanent positions for RNs and RPNs but also a working environment that offers flexibility and professional satisfaction. It is therefore recommended that employers of nurses mount pilot projects to test alternative models of nursing care (e.g. flexible hours, environments that enable nurses to develop clinical skills, etc.) and that these models be evaluated to assess the impact on client outcomes and the working environment for nurses…
To heighten awareness of a career in nursing and to encourage young women and men to choose a career in nursing, it is recommended that the professional nursing associations, with the support of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, mount a comprehensive marketing and communications plan.The Report on Recruitment and Retention is a reflection of the strong consensus within the nursing profession on the urgent action required to address the causes of inadequate nursing resources. The nursing community has had an extraordinary level of involvement in this project (see Appendices 3 and 4). Nurses across all sectors and regions of the province are united in their resolve to take immediate action.