Our unit carries out research on the evaluation of evidence-based nursing practice, implementation science and measurement of outcomes.

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BPG development
To evaluate innovative methodologies for the development of RNAO's Best Practice Guidelines (BPG).

Example: Weaving Indigenous wise practices together with expertise on guideline development, implementation and evaluation to ensure culturally-safe practices for Indigenous partners.

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BPG implementation
To evaluate BPG context indicators and implementation strategies through RNAO’s collaboratory projects and other initiatives.

Example: Evaluate context indicators (for example, leadership) and their impact on the uptake and sustainability of BPG recommendations.

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BPG evaluation
To evaluate the impact of implementing BPGs in Best Practice Spotlight Organizations (BPSO) on patients, organizations and health system outcomes.

Example: Evaluate the impact of specific BPG clinical recommendations on outcomes (for example, rate of falls, percentage of falls resulting in injury, percentage of persons whose pressure injury worsened).

RNAO Research Team

Dr. Doris Grinspun

Dr.  Doris Grinspun

RN, BScN, MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), Dr(hc), DHC, DHC, FAAN, FCAN, O.ONT.
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)

Shanoja Naik

Dr.  Shanoja Naik

PhD, MPhil, MStat, MSc(Math), BEd
Associate Director and Chief Scientist
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)

Alexa Parousis

Alexa Parousis

Research Associate
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)

Niek Klazinga

Dr.  Niek Klazinga

University Medical Center - University of Amsterdam

Dr. Niek Klazinga is a professor of social medicine at the University Medical Center/University of Amsterdam. He leads a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating research centre for quality and equity in primary health-care.  His research focuses on quality of care and health system performance and he is involved in policy debates and numerous research projects on the subject; he has co-authored around 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has supervised 43 PhD candidates. Additional present commitments include being an advisor to the RNAO research unit, WHO, the European Union the World Bank, and the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Nancy Santesso

Dr.  Nancy Santesso

Associate Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact
McMaster University

Dr. Nancy Santesso is an associate professor at McMaster University and deputy director of Cochrane Canada. Dr. Santesso’s research interests are in methods of developing systematic reviews and guidelines, and in their use by key stakeholders, such as patients and the public. She conducts primary qualitative and quantitative research in this area, and has been involved with the GRADE working group and pursued the connection between systematic reviews and guideline development. She provides guideline development expertise to organizations such as Osteoporosis Canada, the American Society of Hematology, and RNAO.

Dr. Janet Squires

Dr.  Janet Squires

University of Ottawa School of Nursing

Dr. Janet Squires is a nursing professor at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Squires current research is centered on the design, implementation, and evaluation of theory-informed interventions to increase the uptake of research and research-based behaviours in health care professionals as a strategy to contribute to improving patient and system outcomes. She is currently involved in several nationally funded projects examining the role of context in knowledge translation and developing and testing interventions for health care professionals.

RNAO research unit integrated model

The RNAO Research Unit uses a collaborative approach to optimize knowledge synthesis, health outcomes research, and methodological advancements within the areas of guideline development, implementation, and evaluation. 

Our integrated model enhances organizational research capacity and strengthens RNAO’s Best Practice Guidelines (BPG) Program by introducing knowledge facilitation strategies and innovations.

See the full model


Current research projects

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Implementation collaboratory project:
This research will identify and measure contextual indicators and processes for BPG implementation to determine their effect on evidence uptake, evidence sustainability and patient outcomes.

Download the poster

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Research on implementing digital clinical pathways:
This research will evaluate the implementation outcomes of evidence-based clinical pathways in a variety of long-term care homes across Ontario focused on three topics: person-and family-centered care (PFCC), assessment and management of pain, and preventing falls and reducing injury from falls.

RNAO Clinical Pathways

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Artificial intelligence and machine learning:
RNAO has launched this initiative to assess data collected from BPSOs and to predict patterns in implementation of BPG and related outcomes across organizations, health sectors and regions/countries.

Read our article in RNJ


RNAO research webinar

Leading with Evidence: Applying Research in Practice (May 13, 2022)

How can nurses effectively use research in clinical practice, quality improvement initiatives and advocating for healthy public policy? This virtual event convened in May 2022 focused on how nurses – from novice to expert – use research to improve patients’ clinical and health outcomes. Leaders from RNAO’s guideline development, implementation and evaluation teams outlined the knowledge and skills nurses need to advance their evidence-based practice competencies.

Evidence Boosters

RNAO's Evidence Boosters are two-page infographics that demonstrate the impact of BPG implementation on clinical and organizational outcomes. Below are links to our most recent evidence boosters. We will update this page when new evidence boosters become available.

June 10, 2024

This Evidence Booster examines the impact of implementing RNAO’s best practice guidelines in an academic institution in Doha, Qatar.

The University of Calgary in Qatar successfully integrated the BPGs into its concept and competency-based curriculum, significantly enhancing students’ skills and knowledge. This work has cultivated an evidence-based culture and promoted advocacy for excellence in health care.

May 16, 2024

This Evidence Booster examines the impact of implementing RNAO’s Risk Assessment and Prevention of Pressure Ulcers (2011) best practice guideline (BPG) in a pediatric hospital in Santiago, Chile.

Hospital de Niños Dr. Luis Calvo Mackenna demonstrated an increase in the percentage of persons identified as “at risk for pressure ulcer” who have a documented use of an appropriate pressure management surface, and a decrease in the percentage of persons who developed one or more new stage II to IV pressure ulcers.

May 16, 2024

Este soporte a la evidencia examina el impacto de la implementación de la guía de buenas practicas de Evaluación de riesgos y prevención de úlceras por presión (2011) de RNAO en un hospital pediátrico de Santiago de Chile.

El Hospital de Niños Dr. Luis Calvo Mackenna demostró un aumento en el porcentaje de personas identificadas como "en riesgo de sufrir úlceras por presión" donde se tiene un registro documentado de una superficie adecuada y una disminución en el porcentaje de personas que desarrollaron una o más nuevas úlceras por presión en etapa de II a IV.