FAQs: Quality Assurance

What is Quality Assurance?

Nurses maintain and enhance their competence through daily practice reflection, lifelong learning and by integrating that learning into their practice. As practicing nurses, Quality Assurance (QA) is integral in ensuring the public receives safe, quality and ethical care.

The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 requires CNO to establish and administer a QA program that assists nurses in maintaining competence and continually evaluating their practice.

CNO’s QA Program consists of the following components:

  1. QA Every Day
  2. QA Assessment  

Are all nurses expected to participate in QA every day?

Yes. Participating in QA Every Day involves nurses asking reflective questions daily about their practice and identifying learning activities to maintain their continuing competence

The obligation to maintain competence and engage in ongoing professional development is embedded in Principle 6 of the Code of Conduct: 6.9 Nurses self-reflect, identify learning needs in their practice and engage in continuous learning to improve their competence.

Can I reflect with my team or in a group setting?

Yes. Reflection can take place in a group setting. Group reflection provides opportunities to learn from each other, identify common goals and inform your own assessment. 

Part of practice reflection includes getting feedback from peers. You can get peer feedback from a colleague who is familiar with your recent nursing roles or include feedback from a previous clinical evaluation.  

Once you have identified your learning needs from this reflection, you can plan your learning goals, and the activities you need to do to achieve them in your learning plan.

Do I need to complete a Learning Plan?

Yes. All components of QA require a learning plan. It is your accountability under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 to complete a learning plan every year. You can do this however you choose. Some nurses use CNO’s Learning Plan template, while other nurses use their employer templates or a notebook to record their plans for the year. CNO requires that your learning plan identify two learning goals.

If you are selected for QA Assessment, you will be required to submit your learning plan to CNO. You should keep a copy of your Learning Plan for two years.

What if my Learning Plan changes throughout the year?

It is okay if your Learning Plan changes. As reflective practitioners, nurses reflect on their practice every day, to identify opportunities for continuous improvement and support professional learning and growth

How many nurses are selected for QA assessment?

CNO selects a random number of nurses at various times throughout the year to complete QA Assessment. More information can be found on our Quality Assurance Assessment webpage.

Nurses who are selected for QA Assessment will be notified via email. It is important for nurses to keep their  contact information on the register up to date. This can be done any time by logging in to the Maintain Your Membership portal. 

If I am registered with CNO in the General or Extended Class but I am not practicing nursing, do I have to participate in QA?

Yes. All nurses registered in the General or Extended Class are expected to participate in QA activities, except for nurses in the Non-Practising Class.  

Even if you are not currently working, you can still reflect on your nursing practice experiences to determine your strengths, areas for improvement and learning needs. These experiences can include previous formal employment, or student placements if you are a new graduate.  

You can also reflect on relevant new information and think about how it might influence your practice. For example, is there new evidence or legislation that may change how you would deliver care? 

Where do I check for updates on CNO’s QA program?

Updates to CNO’s QA program will be available on our website. We also will notify you of any changes in The Standard, and on our Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn and Instagram pages. 




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Page last reviewed April 08, 2024