On this page: Our Journey | Members leading change | RNAO's partnerships and engagements | RNAO policy | Capacity building | RNAO media  | Staff leading change

Our journey: Nurses' health and wellbeing and RNAO

The global pandemic has clearly demonstrated the importance of healthy work environments (HWE) for nurses. Our already compromised health system has faltered over the past two years, causing a myriad of nursing challenges such as wage restraints, understaffing, lack of support and overwhelming workloads.

Healthy workplaces are the cornerstones of recruitment and retention of a robust, and engaged nursing workforce. This was proven in 1999/2000 with the exodus of Ontario nurses to the U.S. following the deterioration of working conditions.

In 2003, RNAO formalized its focus on HWEs through the provincial and federally funded healthy work environment best practice guidelines(BPG) project. Organizations using HWE BPGs to address these challenges showed positive impacts on nurses and patient care.

Since the onset of the pandemic nurses have been resilient in the face of inordinate stress, and have had to find ways to adapt and reach out for help when necessary. But the journey is changing. A large number of nurses have reached their limit, and are experiencing high levels of stress and burnout. RNs in particular are leaving their jobs and the profession. RNAO is committed to assisting nurses in this time of crisis, and continue to develop solutions and strategies to support the health and wellbeing of Ontario’s nurses.

Healthy workplaces are the cornerstones of recruitment and retention of a robust, and engaged nursing workforce.

RNAO

Nursing Through Crisis: A Comparative Perspective

Nursing Through Crisis reports on five surveys where nurses’ perspectives of working through the COVID-19 pandemic were examined. The report describes how the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a nursing crisis for a nursing workforce that have been overworked, and understaffed for decades. It shows that a significant percentage of Canadian nurses experienced severe or extremely severe levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, and high levels of burnout during the pandemic. A significant percentage of nurse respondents planned to leave the profession, and a significant percentage of nurses were undecided. The report outlined urgent recommendations for health-system employers and government to build RN careers in Ontario. RNAO will also provide the following programs to retain and recruit Ontario nurses, and aid in the health and wellbeing of these nurses.

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RNAO programs for nurses 

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ACPF

Advanced Clinical Practice Fellowship (ACPF) program (expanded)

Advanced Clinical Practice Fellowship Program provides registered nurses (RN) and nurse practitioners (NP) the opportunity to have a focused self-directed learning experience to develop clinical, leadership or best practice guideline implementation knowledge and skills, with support from a mentor(s).

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Nurses

Leadership and Management for Nurses program

The overall aim of the Nurse Leader-Manager Program is to enhance competence, confidence and effectiveness of nurses in health care manager roles through building leadership and managerial knowledge and skills.

 

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mentorship

Mentorship for Nurses program

The RNAO Mentorship Program supports the retention, engagement and the professional career development of members of the nursing profession. The RNAO Mentorship Program is designed for those looking for a mentor to support their professional career development.

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Nursing preceptorship

Nursing Student and Preceptor Long-Term Care program

The overall aim of the Nursing Student and Preceptor Toolkit is to provide support and resources to students and preceptors in long-term care, to develop positive student learning experiences. This web-based online toolkit consists of a variety of resources to support students and preceptors.

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Members leading change

RNAO Interest Groups

RNAO started out with six interest groups in 1979, and has now expanded to 33 interest groups in 2022, reflecting the vast continuum of nursing. As members of RNAO, RNs can choose to join any of the interest groups. Each of RNAO’s interest groups represents a unique specialty or population within the nursing spectrum, and offers a range of professional resources and supports for members.

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leading change

Members mobilizing change 

RNAO resolutions 2021

Supporting nurses’ mental health and wellbeing

A call to action for governments and health-care leaders to promote practices and work environments to support optimal mental health and wellbeing, resilience and suicide prevention.

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Supporting new graduate nurses

Research and advocacy to support new graduate nurses.

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Support of nurses and nursing students during Ontario’s health crisis

Designated mental health support for all nursing workplaces and academic institutions during provincial health crisis.

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AGM

RNAO’s partnerships and engagement

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Nurses Health program

Nurses’ Health Program

The Nurses’ Health Program (NHP) is designed to encourage nurses to seek treatment for substance use and/or mental health disorders that may affect their ability to practice nursing safely. The NHP is supported by RNAO, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN).

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Nursing Week

Nursing Week

Nursing Week is the annual celebration of our profession that always coincides with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, on May 12. RNAO is proud to recognize all nurses for the quality of care they provide to patients, clients and long-term care residents. From the bedside to the classroom and the boardroom, nurses make Ontario, our country and the world a healthier place.

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Nursing Week

Nurses celebrate National Nurse Practitioner Week

It is important to dedicate a week to celebrate NPs. They make formidable contributions to the health system by improving timely access to health services, delivering quality care for Ontarians, and optimizing outcomes for patients, organizations and the health system as a whole.

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Recognition Awards

Recognition Awards

The RNAO Recognition Awards are presented annually to recognize individuals and groups that make significant contributions to RNAO's mandate of speaking out for nursing and speaking out for health. To honour these individuals and groups, consider nominating a colleague, yourself or your organization for one of RNAO's prestigious Recognition Awards.

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Nursing Now Ontario Awards

Nursing Now Ontario Awards

"The awards honour nurses work in improving Ontarians' health and quality of life during the best and worst of times," says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun. NNOA celebrates the contribution of nurses who improve the health outcomes of Ontarians and who contribute to nursing practice. Awards are presented to one winner in three categories: NP, RN, and RPN.

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RNAO's provincial election platform 2022

Nurses know what factors influence and shape people’s health. That’s why RNAO has developed a set of recommendations that cover the environment, the social determinants of health, nursing, care delivery and fiscal capacity.

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Capacity building

Psychosocial support during the COVID-19 pandemic

RNAO is aware nurses and health-care providers across Ontario are experiencing tremendous levels of physical and emotional stress due to COVID-19, and are committed to supporting you during this time.

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psychosocial
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covid-19

COVID-19 Webinar Series

RNAO's CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun hosts COVID-19 webinars for health providers on every second Monday of the month. The webinars include updates on COVID-19 and the health system, guest speakers on prominent topics, questions and answer opportunities, calls to action, and more.

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NP ltc council

NP LTC Council Webinar

The NP LTC Council with support from the RNAO, hosts the NP LTC Webinar every third Thursday of every month from 12 to 1 p.m. The webinar provides supports, networking opportunities and education to NPs working in LTC.

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Professional development

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RNCareers

RNCareers

RNCareers is Ontario's first online career board for nurses, specializing in all levels of nursing across all health-care sectors.

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Nursing education

Nursing Education Initiative Grant Program

Funded by the government of Ontario, the Nursing Education Initiative Grant Program provides education grants to support nurses’ knowledge and skills through professional development.

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Best practice guidelines

Best practice guidelines (BPGs) are systematically developed, evidence-based documents that include recommendations for nurses and the interprofessional team, educators, leaders and policy-makers, persons and their chosen families on specific clinical and healthy work environment topics.  RNAO has about 50 BPGs covering four themes: foundational, clinical, system and healthy work environment and population and public health.

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workplace health

Workplace Health, Safety and Well-being of the Nurse 

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workplace violence

Preventing Violence, Harassment and Bullying Against Health Workers 

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staffing

Developing and Sustaining Safe, Effective Staffing and Workload Practices 

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Developing and sustaining nursing

Developing and Sustaining Nursing Leadership

RNAO media

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Eram Chhogala

‘Nurses are the front line of everything’: Pandemic toll has nurses seeking counselling more than others in health care

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Lindsay Peltsch

How will a provincial incentive entice nurses to stay on the job

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Paula Manuel

'They're leaving every day': Peel Nurses giving up on profession, especially after PC's wage suppression law

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Social media

Get involved. Use the following hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to participate in the ongoing dialogue: 

#NursesHealthMatter #NursingThroughCrisis #NursesHealth #MentalHealth #RepealBill124

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RNAO staff leading change

RNAO staff work tirelessly to host monthly COVID-19 webinars. These webinars allow all nurses to both receive the latest updates on COVID-19 and the health system, and to ask questions and discuss concerns.

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Doris Grinspun

Dr. Doris Grinspun
RN, MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), Dr(hc), FAAN, FCAN, O.ONT.
Chief Executive Officer, RNAO

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Susan Mcneil

Susan McNeill
RN, MPH
Associate Director, RNAO

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Oliwia

Oliwia Klej
Project Coordinator, RNAO

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Irmajean

Dr. Irmajean Bajnok
RN, MScN, PhD, FCAN, FAAN
Senior Policy Analyst, RNAO

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Heather McConnell

Heather McConnell
RN, BScN, MA(Ed)
Director IABPG Centre, RNAO

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