Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

RNAO Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic): Brenda Orazietti

RNAO Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic): Brenda Orazietti

This award goes to the RN or NP who practises excellence as a nursing educator in a college or university setting. This individual enhances the image of nursing by encouraging critical thinking, innovation and debate about important nursing issues, and acts as a role model and mentor in their work environment.

Brenda Orazietti believes good educators are individuals who are open-minded to change and are always looking for the best teaching methods for students. Teaching "…requires a wide breadth of knowledge…and an understanding of how different people think, and how different people relate to what you're saying and how you are saying it," she explains. An RN for 31 years, Orazietti worked in many nursing roles before earning her position as a lecturer at York University's School of Nursing in 2012. As a lecturer, she teaches several nursing leadership courses and acute care courses, which help to prepare nursing students for a career in the real world. She makes sure students are engaged by using a variety of active teaching strategies such as group work and case studies about emerging health-care issues. Those issues include safe injection sites, sex education, and RN-to-patient ratios. Through her teaching, Orazietti hopes students can find their voice and confidence. "Finding a voice has to do with patient advocacy…standing up for what's right for the patient,"she says. Orazietti also encourages her students to get involved with RNAO, joining their local chapter, an interest group, and learning about the association's best practice guidelines and implementing them into course work.