In October of 2008, Health Canada approved a proposal by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) to implement nine pilot projects designed to increase the retention and recruitment of nurses across the country. In November 2009, a tenth pilot project based in Nunavut was approved. Collectively, the pilots are known as Research to Action: Applied Workplace Solutions for Nurses (RTA). The pilots involve innovative strategies that bring research to action, including programs that address staffing ratios to enhance the quality of patient care, systems to offer support to new nursing graduates, and opportunities for education and professional development. All projects are work-place based and have been developed in partnership with employers, unions, governments and other healthcare stakeholders in each jurisdiction. A national steering committee helps oversee the implementation of the project, with two representatives from each pilot project and representation from the CFNU and its national partners – the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Healthcare Association and the Dietitians of Canada.
The past number of years have witnessed a plethora of studies concerning the nursing shortage, looking to its causes and suggesting potential solutions. But studies can only take us so far; this research needs to be brought into the workplace. The RTA project is involved in training and professional development opportunities for 898 nurses, while an additional 1,085 nurses are involved in retention and recruitment initiatives. This will result in more nurses (RNs and LPNs), collaborative partnerships, the creation of strategies to implement similar programs for other health professions, workplaces with improved morale, and sustainable ongoing programs supported with specific tools and resources. Nurses will be able to develop skills and expertise and employers will increase their capacity for collaborative project development and research.
Unions, employers, provincial/territorial departments of health and other health stakeholders have committed resources both in dollars and in-kind to advance this work, while at the national level, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, the Canadian Healthcare Association, the Canadian Nurses Association and the Dietitians of Canada provide guidance and advice, along with their own in-kind support. This model of collaboration has helped to establish a foundation for ongoing collaborative relationships that could prove to be an inspiration for other groups. Already, provincial and territorial partners have demonstrated great potential in working together and a willingness to make a positive difference in the workplace.
The financial support from Health Canada totals $4,774,743 over three fiscal years. Funding will help ensure consistency in approach across the ten projects, and will allow learning from each to reach across professions and jurisdictions. In addition, each pilot receives direct and in-kind support from their union, government and employee partners, bringing the entire value of the project to approximately $98 million.
In February, 2009, Tomblin Murphy Consulting Incorporated was contracted to conduct the national evaluation component of the project. Evaluation frameworks have been developed that are specific to each pilot and yet capable of picking out elements relevant to the national goals of the RTA project. The evaluation process ensures that project lessons are learned and shared, and that they cross regional, jurisdictional and interprofessional boundaries. The national evaluation process will complement the individual provincial/territorial evaluations while affording the opportunity to compare results from the different pilots, thus playing an important role in furthering the knowledge transfer goals of the RTA project.
The ten pilot projects will be complete by the end of 2010, and the national evaluation process will wrap up by March, 2011.
Click on a location on the map, or on the table below, for more information on the provincial/territorial projects.
|Improving Retention and Recruitment in Smaller Communities: The 80/20 Project||British Columbia||Interior Health serves a large geographic area covering almost 215,000 square kilometres of inland British Columbia. The Interior Health Authority (...||
|Improving Patient, Nursing and Organizational Outcomes Utilizing Formal Nurse-Patient Ratios||Saskatchewan||Healthcare stakeholders in Saskatchewan recognize that a positive work environment is crucial to the retention and recruitment of nurses. If the...|
|Enhanced Orientation for Nurses New to Long-Term Care||Manitoba||Pressure on the long-term care (LTC) sector is growing as people are living longer and the needs of individuals entering LTC are becoming more...|
|Linking Nursing Outcomes, Workload and Staffing Decisions in the Workplace||Ontario||Research shows that nurses want to provide more input on assessing patient acuity, changes in patient needs and staffing requirements. Nurse autonomy...|
|Development of a Web-Based Orientation Program and Enhancing Senior Nurses Mentoring Skills||New Brunswick||Research shows the importance of supporting new nurse recruits during their transition into a workplace. Starting a new career, or a new position,...|
|Implementation of a PEI-Based Critical Care and Emergency Nursing Programs||Prince Edward Island||There are currently no Critical Care Nursing Programs (CCNP) or Emergency Nursing Programs (ENP) delivered in Prince Edward Island. Currently, nurses...||
|Late Career Nurse and New Graduate Transition||Nova Scotia||The growing nursing shortage threatens to affect the quality of care in Nova Scotia. A lack of professional development opportunities, the...|
|80/20 Staffing Model Pilot Project in a Newfoundland and Labrador Long-Term Care Facility||Newfoundland and Labrador||Newfoundland and Labrador has the oldest demographic in Canada, due in part to the outmigration of younger adults. As a result, the needs of the...|
|Building Nursing Capacity in Nunavut||Nunavut|
|Evaluation of Nursing Retention and Recruitment Initiatives in Alberta||Alberta||Nursing retention and recruitment strategies are recognized as an essential activity to ensure the viability of the nursing workforce and health care...|