Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Strong nursing teams keep nurses at work and patients safe

Strong nursing teams keep nurses at work and patients safe

TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2006 - Keeping patients safe and retaining and recruiting nurses are top priorities for Canadian health-care organizations. One of the key solutions to these challenges is simpler than many people realize – organizations must ensure that they have strong teams of nurses.

“Organizations need to devote time, attention and upfront resources to building and maintaining nursing teams. If they make nurse team-building a priority, they will see major payoffs in terms of patient safety, nurse satisfaction and higher productivity,” says Irmajean Bajnok, Director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) Centre for Professional Nursing Excellence and lead person for the Healthy Work Environments Best Practice Programs.

Today, RNAO’s Centre is releasing an evidence-based guideline entitled “Collaborative Practice Among Nursing Teams”, which offers practical strategies and their evidence for building effective nursing teams. The recommendations outlined in the guideline include: having nursing teams develop policies, analyze their decision-making strategies and evaluate the way they work. The guidelines were developed to help nurses in all roles and sectors, other health-care professionals and senior management teams enhance positive outcomes for patients, nurses and organizations.

The way much of nursing is practised – on a 24-hour a day, seven-day a week basis – means that nurses are required to work in a collaborative way in order to deliver safe, quality patient care. “Collaboration is fundamental to all aspects of patient care.  It’s critical when we’re communicating patient information, when we’re planning care and during procedures,” says Diane Irvine Doran, co-chair of the panel of nurses that developed the guideline and a senior researcher at the University of Toronto.  

Nurses and their patients aren’t the only ones who will benefit from the implementation of these best practice guidelines. “Organizations which foster healthy work environments for nurses have no trouble recruiting and retaining nursing staff,” says Doris Grinspun, Executive Director of RNAO.

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

“Collaborative Practice Among Nursing Teams” will be officially launched at RNAO's sixth annual ‘International Healthy Workplaces in Action’ conference being held on Thursday, November 30 and Friday, December 1 at the Hilton Suites Toronto/Markham Conference Centre and Spa, 8500 Warden Ave, Markham, Ontario.

To view the conference agenda, please visit

 The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise 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