Research and Advocacy to Support New Graduate Nurses

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) continue to advocate for more research on the current turnover rate of new graduate nurses across Ontario and the reasons they leave the profession, to facilitate investing in and implementing evidence-based strategies to improve retention.


  • In the midst of a nursing crisis in Ontario, RNAO has devoted much attention to researching and advocating for the retention and recruitment of nurses – particularly RNs that are early in their careers. RNAO’s May 2022 report, Nursing Through Crisis, identified that nurses aged 21–25 years experience the highest levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. They are at an increased risk of leaving the profession with nearly half indicating that they had plans to leave their position within the next 12 months, and about one-third indicating that they had plans to leave in the next one to five years.
  • RNAO has been forceful with government and employers on the need to pay particular attention to new graduate nurse retention. To this end, Dr. Grinspun successfully advocated to expand the 1:1 tuition reimbursement for RNs and for RPNs. We are also advocating to bring back the Late Career Nurse initiative, as well as efforts to bring back retired nurses to serve as mentors.
  • And, RNAO is not only relying on government and employers to take action. We are launching our own programs to support managers in their critical role to support nurses. The association has also expanded a mentorship program established in 2019 to support nurse mentors and mentees in fostering high-quality mentorship relationships.
  • RNAO will continue to call for the expansion of the Nursing Graduate Guarantee (NGG) to ensure access for all new RN registrants, including internationally educated nurses. We have included these calls in all recent policy documents, including a political action bulletin, our 2022 provincial pre-budget submission, our 2022 provincial election platform and our Nursing Through Crisis report. We also issued related action alerts.
  • Research published by RNAO’s Black Nurses Task Force (BNTF) over the past year also shone a light on specific barriers faced by Black nurses in education and career progression, related to systemic anti-Black racism and discrimination in the profession. Their report published in February 2022 made 19 recommendations covering retention, recruitment and many other areas of concern for Black nurses. This report got extensive media coverage, as spotlighted on our Black Nurses and RNAO In Focus theme page. Just before this report was released, the BNTF also published two peer-reviewed articles in Nursing Inquiry’s special issue on anti-racism, including Tackling discrimination and systemic racism in academic and workplace settings.
  • RNAO launched a new Nurses' health and wellbeing In Focus theme page in May 2022 as part of our Nursing Week 2022 celebration. It outlines four new or revised programs, also announced during Nursing Week, to help the profession through the current nursing human resource crisis. It also showcases RNAO’s other public and clinical policy efforts to create healthier work environments for nurses – including the Nursing Through Crisis report – and records the evolution of RNAO’s work on healthy work environments, beginning in 2003 with our related best practice guidelines (BPG) project.


Lauren Rogers
Conflict of interest:

No known conflict of interest

Year carried:
Last updated:
April 6, 2023