December 2020

Our greatest hits of the past 10 years

As 2020 comes to a close, we’re looking back at the decade that was and reflecting on all we’ve achieved together. Ten years ago, our board approved a bold new strategic plan that would set our goals for the next decade: build confidence in the nursing profession, advance the use of CNO knowledge and lead in regulatory innovation. Those guiding principles informed all of our work.

At their recent meeting, the board approved a new plan that sets our strategy for the future: Strategy 2021-2024. You’ll hear much more about this plan in upcoming months.  

Before we jump into a brand-new year, let’s take a moment to celebrate the successes we achieved together.

The Code of Conduct

In 2019, we launched the Code of Conduct, an overarching practice standard that describes the behaviour and conduct all nurses are professionally accountable to. The Code also helps the public understand what to expect from nurses when receiving care. To create the Code, we undertook a comprehensive consultation with members of the public, nurses, educators, nurse employers, nursing associations, nursing unions and government. We’re proud to say the Code puts patients at the centre of nursing care.

Expanding roles for nurses

Exciting scope of practice changes are on the horizon for all classes of nurses. In the near future, NPs will have the authority to order magnetic resonance imaging tests (MRIs) and computed tomography scans (CTs) and perform point-of-care testing. RNs will soon be able to prescribe medication and to communicate diagnoses for the purpose of prescribing medication for certain non-complex conditions. RPNs will have the authority to independently initiate several specific controlled acts.

These changes increase patients’ choice of and access to health care services and remove a barrier for patients in need. You can learn more about these changes on our Scope of Practice — Proposed Changes page.

Our governance revolution

Our ability to protect the public starts at the top. That’s why, in 2014, the board conducted a top-to-bottom review of its governance operations and structure. After an external task force reviewed global governance trends, best practices and expert advice, the board committed to a radical restructuring plan that we called Vision 2020. The new plan made waves as a model for innovative regulatory governance.

Going paperless and improving our services with new technology

Way back in 2011, we launched Maintain Your Membership — making many of the services we provide more accessible. Now, when nurses need to access their info or make a change, they can do so quickly and easily online.

Our new applicant portal, which moved the process for applying to become a nurse online, made it easier for qualified applicants to register with CNO (no more mailing paper application and registration packages back and forth!)

In fact, going paperless has been a major initiative at CNO lately. All of our board processes are now online, a switch that made us more efficient, more sustainable, and more effective. In 2017, only 6% of the board’s activity was paperless. Today, we’re proud to say we’re at 100%! 

Strengthening our education and application processes

In 2018, we launched a new Program Approval process that improved our ability to assess and measure how Ontario’s nursing programs prepare graduates for entry into the profession. Using a standardized approach, the new process confirms nursing programs meet comprehensive standards so that their graduates are prepared to practice safely, competently and ethically. It also provides an objective foundation to effectively evaluate all nursing education programs and ensures our decision-making processes are clear and transparent.

In 2015, we started using the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), which has a sophisticated testing format that is accessible, fair and efficient. We worked with Canadian nurses and nurse regulators from 10 provinces and territories to develop it. The NCLEX-RN provides writers with year-round access and faster results.

The Nurses’ Health Program

This voluntary program for nurses focuses on early identification and referral for treatment of mental health and/or substance use disorders. The Nurses’ Health Program recognizes these disorders as illnesses and focuses on education, treatment and recovery — an approach that ultimately protects the public by recognizing the unique needs of health care professionals. This much needed program is the result of the collaborative innovation of four nursing organizations: CNO, the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN).

Working with stakeholders to build confidence in nursing regulation

To include more voices in our decision-making, we’ve created several consultation groups so that we can benefit from their input and expertise. In 2016, we created The Academic Reference Group so that educators could share information and collaborate. In 2018, along with other health regulators, we supported the creation of a public advisory group called the Citizen Advisory Group, made up of a diverse collection of people who use Ontario health services as either a patient or caregiver. The Employer Reference Group, made up of nurse employers from across Ontario, enhances professional collaboration between nurse employers and CNO and provides opportunities for education, discussion and consultation.

Proactively responding to the public inquiry

When Commissioner Eileen Gillese released her Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry Report, we fully supported all the Commissioner’s recommendations. The report contained 10 recommendations specifically for CNO and, at the time of its release, we had already implemented or were in the process of implementing virtually all of them. This is because during the Inquiry, when we learned of something within our control to improve the long-term care system, we acted immediately.

You can read more of our major achievements of the past decade in our 10-year Strategic Plan report.

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