Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Healthy workplace month - a reminder to keep patients and nurses safe


TORONTO, Oct. 19, 2009 – October is healthy workplace month and The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) urges organizations to promote team work and adopt safe organizational practices by addressing power differentials that jeopardize both patient and workplace safety.

RNAO is urging Premier McGuinty to amend the Public Hospitals Act and transform Medical Advisory Committees (MACs) into Interprofessional Advisory Committees (IPACs). “There is no doubt in our mind that this is urgently needed if we are to advance interprofessional practice, patient and staff safety,” says Wendy Fucile, RNAO’s President adding that “MACs are barriers to collaborative practice that reinforce inequitable power relations between physicians and other professionals. The current structure won’t advance the government’s objective of improved interprofessional collaboration, nor patient or staff safety. We must not maintain archaic organizational structures that focus power in only one profession. It’s time to move into the 21st century and replace MACs with Interprofessional Advisory Committees – this is already happening in the LHINs,” she adds

RNAO also recommends that health-care organizations role model healthy work environments by implementing RNAO’s evidence-based guidelines in areas such as team-work, leadership, staffing and scheduling, cultural diversity and its most recent guideline on Preventing and Managing Violence in the Workplace.

Evidence-based guidelines are tools developed by teams of expert nurses and other health professionals who identify the strongest research evidence and develop recommendations to address critical workplace issues. Recommendations are aimed at governments, employers, educators, professional bodies, regulators and unions, as well as individual nurses.

Doris Grinspun, RNAO’s Executive Director, says health-care organizations are eager to create positive work environments and many do. However, not all have the best evidence at the finger tips. “It is sometimes astonishing to realize that some of the strategies organizations implement are absolutely counter to building healthy work environments and this is especially true during tough financial times,” Grinspun states adding “that’s why we urge them to follow the evidence instead of dealing with bad experimentations that are costly to patients, staff and the health system.”

RNAO’s ambitious Best Practice Guidelines Program, funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, was launched in 1999 to provide the best available evidence for patient care across a wide spectrum of health-care areas. The 38 guidelines developed to date are a substantive contribution towards building excellence in Ontario’s health-care system. They are available to nurses, other health care professionals and organizations across Canada and abroad. To learn more about RNAO’s Nursing Best Guidelines Program or to view these resources, please visit

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated 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.


Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Cell: 647-406-5605 / Office: 416-408-5605
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