Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

About Healthy Work Environments BPGs


The System and Healthy Work Environments Best Practice Guidelines (BPG) are designed to support health-care organizations in creating and sustaining positive work environments. This work is led by the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The initial goal of the program was the development of six foundational guidelines and systematic literature reviews related to healthy work environments. The six foundational guidelines developed were leadership, collaborative practice, workload and staffing, professionalism, embracing diversity and workplace health, safety, and well-being. For the project a healthy work environment was defined as "a practice setting that maximizes the health and well-being of nurses, quality patient outcomes and organizational and system performance".

For a full list of Systems and Healthy Work Environment (HWE) guidelines, please click here.

Program Activities

The HWE BPGs are regularly featured at a variety of provincial, national, and international events, and forums. In addition, the guidelines form the basis of numerous workshops, consultations and forums provided by the RNAO. Several media events showcasing the guidelines and their impact have been held related to each of the guidelines. The Nursing Best Practice Research Centre (NBPRC) and other investigators have conducted research exploring and demonstrating the link between healthy work environments and clinical excellence. Various partnerships have been founded with Best Practice Spotlight Organizations (BPSO) to facilitate the implementation of HWE guidelines to support clinical practice.

For a list of current Systems and Healthy Work Environments events, please click here.

Guideline Evaluation

The foundational six Healthy Work Environments Best Practice Guidelines were piloted in nine sites across Ontario. Theses sites included: Centre for Addiction & Mental Health; Headwaters Health Care Centre; Kingston General Hospital & Hotel Dieu Hospital; Queensway Carleton Hospital; Saint Elizabeth Health Care; Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; William Osler Health Centre; and York Central Hospital. The evaluation was led by Dr. Linda O'Brien-Pallas and Sara White of the University of Toronto Nursing Health Services Research Unit, with support from HWE BPG panel members and the RNAO.

For more information about the Health Work Environment BPGs, please contact us.