RNAO to release landmark report on the nursing profession’s future in the wake of a pandemic

May 10, 2022

The nursing profession has been crucial to protecting and caring for Ontarians during COVID-19. And, a report set to be released on Thursday, May 12, by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) will reveal the pandemic’s profound impact on the health and wellbeing of nurses. The repercussions of nursing through crisis have been so dramatic that government, employers, academic sectors and nursing associations must address them fully and without delay.  

The association conducted a detailed survey from May to July 2021, during the height of COVID-19’s third wave. It then compared the results with similarly focused national and international surveys, and its own Work and Wellbeing Survey Results report conducted and released in 2021.

RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun says “the findings are shocking, and while some actions have been taken, much more is immediately required.” For example, over 75 per cent of Canadian nurses who responded to the survey were classified as burnt out, with higher percentages among hospital and front-line workers.

Equally startling is that about 69 per cent of nurses plan to leave their positions in the next five years. And of those, 42 per cent plan to leave the nursing profession altogether, whether by retiring or seeking employment in a field other than nursing. “This level of instability and the planned departures from the profession demand that we must all come together to redouble our efforts and rebuild nursing for the public,” says Grinspun.

RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth says the report includes recommendations for employers and the government to address the harmful impacts of RN understaffing on patient care and on nurses themselves. It also outlines several programs RNAO is launching to better support nurses, provide them with professional development opportunities and create healthier work environments.

“We entered the pandemic with a shortage of 22,000 RNs and the past two years have made the situation even worse. Many RNs have already left our profession as a result of the pandemic. The toll on RNs is glaringly obvious,” adds Hoffarth. “We are in the grip of a devastating nursing crisis and we must act immediately and substantively to avert tragedy for Ontarians.”


The Registered Nurses’ Association releases its report Nursing Through Crisis: A Comparative Perspective.


May 12, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. ET


  • Morgan Hoffarth, RNAO President
  • Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO CEO


  • Dr. Claudette Holloway, RNAO President-Elect

Media are welcome to ask questions at the end of the media conference.


Press conference via Zoom

All media are invited and must register online to attend.

Join the conversation on social media using #NursingThroughCrisis

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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For more information, please contact:

Contact info

Marion Zych
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)
Victoria Alarcon
Communications Officer/Writer
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)