Nightingale News
Nightingale News



What’s New at RPNAO

Linda, PresidentMessage from the President

On behalf of everyone at RPNAO, I’m very excited to welcome you to the inaugural edition of your e-newsletter, Nightingale News.

Combined with your magazine, the RPN Journal, this e-newsletter will double the number of times we can reach out to you each year with updates about important issues affecting RPNs, new programs and services available to you, and much more.

This is just the latest example of RPNAO embracing technology to better serve you – our valued members. When you think about it, it’s amazing to think about how technology has changed our profession as a whole (how many of us remember using mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers as part of our everyday care?). Think of this e-newsletter as another tool at your disposal – just like the new electronic blood pressure monitors and thermometers we use to do our nursing jobs more efficiently.

As always, we would love your feedback. Please let us know what you think and submit your ideas and comments to aweeres@rpnao.org. And remember to follow RPNAO on Twitter and Facebook to ensure you have the latest information from your professional organization.

New Web features

RPNAO has introduced a number of new features on our website to better serve you. Click on the links below to see what’s new:

  • RPNAO 2010 Survey – We’ve undertaken this research project to get a clearer picture of the experiences, attitudes, goals and challenges of Ontario’s 30,000 RPNs. We encourage you to complete the survey if you haven’t already. Your confidential responses will help RPNAO continue its mission of supporting and advocating on behalf of RPNs.
  • Student Resources – Information and links to a variety of health care websites to assist students and other members conducting research projects.
  • Research – Access progress updates on the RPNAO 2010 Survey.
  • Nurse Profiles - Each month, we will add a new nurse profile to our career section to shine a spotlight on the broad range of interesting and valuable roles RPNs are playing throughout Ontario.
  • Fellowship Toolkit – A valuable resource to help nurses enhance their proposal, presentation and poster development skills.
  • Links are now available to Facebook and Twitter from the RPNAO website - Join nurses from across Ontario in dialogue on a wide range of health care topics.
  • Coming Soon: Workplace Violence Toolkit – Stay tuned for this downloadable toolkit and eLearning opportunity. We will provide updates in future issues of the RPN Journal and this newsletter

Practice & Education

Fellowship Toolkit *New*

The Fellowship Toolkit is now available on the RPNAO website under the Practice and Education section. We created this toolkit to help fellows with the application process, knowledge dissemination and presentation skills. The website offers a narrated presentation, a PowerPoint presentation and downloadable checklists and guides to support your learning needs. We encourage you to check out this new toolkit. And as always, be sure to give us your feedback on this new resource.

The new toolkit includes:

  • Application for RPNAO NCPF
  • How to write a fellowship proposal (Learning Module)
  • Quick guide for writing a fellowship (PDF)
  • Proposal checklists (PDF)
  • How to write an abstract (Learning Module)
  • Writing an abstract(PDF)
  • Abstract checklist (PDF)
  • How to create a poster presentation (2 Learning Modules)
  • NCPF poster templates (PDF and Publisher in optional sizes)

Click here to access toolkit


New this fall for RPNS: Leadership Course 
This Leadership Course has been developed specifically for RPNs and other health care professionals through our new online learning system. This eight-week eLearning program is facilitated by Sue Matthews, TITLE and is designed to provide participants with the background and tools to support leadership development.

Course Description: A critical examination of leadership in nursing, system structure, policy-making process and change management, intended to increase leadership skills at the individual RPN level. The course will examine leadership theories and the role of nurses in the health care system, focusing on the role of the practical nurse. Click here to learn more


The RPNAO 2010 Survey was designed to capture the experiences and opinions of RPNs in Ontario and will be the largest data gathering initiative of this cohort in the province.

By participating in this survey, RPNs will be playing an important role in helping us reveal a detailed snapshot of the collective experiences, opinions, attitudes, goals and challenges of Ontario’s 30,000 RPNs.

This information will be invaluable as RPNAO continues its mission of supporting and advocating on behalf of RPNs throughout the province. Together, we can help advocate for our profession to realize better working conditions, reduced workplace bullying, improved career opportunities, enhanced collaboration, more full time work opportunities and more.

To date, phase one of the survey has resulted in responses from 1,461 RPNs. We recently mailed invitations to all of the remaining RPNs in Ontario to ask them to participate in this important survey. Please take a few moments to complete the survey and encourage your colleagues to do the same. The survey is easily accessible through the RPNAO website.  Click here to access.

Research Timeline




Investigation of Existing Data

  • Literature Review

March 2010 Complete

Strategic Planning

  • Board/ Staff/Juice

April 7 2010  Complete


  •  Survey

In Progress

Determine research parameters and method

  • Determining number of RPNs in Ontario
  • Access to RPNs- College of Nurses database
  • Developing survey criteria; sample size,  demographic data, key areas of focus, delivery method, timelines, test process, ethical review process


Developing research questions

  • All questions developed in collaboration and final survey vetted through RPNAO


Launch Phase 1 of Survey to RPNs and Key stakeholders

  • RPNAO to complete email test
  • Juice Inc. to launch survey

Tests complete
Launch date: June 7, 2010 Complete

Evaluate Data

  • All data to be submitted directly to Juice Inc.
  • Data analysis completed by Juice

July 2010

Review with RPNAO

  • Juice to review outcomes of Phase 1 of survey
  • Formulation of focus group questions to be developed based on issues identified in survey

August 2010

Launch Phase 2 of Survey

  • All RPNs without email addresses will be contacted by mail with e-survey access information

August 30,  2010

Review with RPNAO

  • Juice to review outcomes of survey
  • Additional questions required based on issues identified in survey

September 2010

Focus Groups

  • Juice Inc to conduct focus groups

October 2010

Review Data

  • Juice to review outcomes of survey
  • Formulation of retention strategies to be developed based on issues identified in survey

November 2010

Final Review with RPNAO

  • Development of specific strategies for RPNAO retention and recruitment
  • Dissemination of information with key stakeholders

Fall/Winter 2010


There are a wide range of roles, responsibilities and experiences in the realm of practical nursing. As a result, what might seem routine to one RPN may be completely foreign to another. As such, RPNAO wanted to take the opportunity to share details about one of our most frequently asked questions to those who have applied to the Nursing Education Initiative.

In the processing of NEI applications, we receive different types of receipts and payment documentation from applicants. As a result, applicants often ask why they were allocated a different dollar amount than another person who participated in the same professional development activity.

As part of our efforts to provide applicants with relevant information, we have prepared sample documentation for those applying. This information is available on our website at www.rpnao.org and is also available by email. In addition, our staff can help applicants access information that needs to be included in their application(s). Our hope is that these efforts will help make the process faster and simpler in the future.

So… what’s the easiest way to get you the information you need? Typically, full time and part time students attending Colleges/Universities will have access to an online student portal through which they can access online information specific to tuition, payments, fees, breakdowns, grades, etc.

Bill Description

Let’s take a look at a quick example. Suppose you were participating in a course as part of the RPN certificate to diploma program, paid for the course online using your credit card and received confirmation that your course fees have been paid. For the purposes of this example, let’s say the course cost was $372.04.

This amount includes the following fees:

Because of individual circumstances, some students may have other fees included/excluded. As a result, the actual tuition amount to be allocated to the course, if applied for, would be $322.80. Using this amount ensures that all requests, regardless of individual situations, would be allocated the same amount of funding.

It is possible that the amount may be broken down on an INVOICE but not on a RECEIPT. So while the receipt may state an amount paid, it may not include what was paid for. Applicants may want to consider sending in both the INVOICE and RECEIPT as part of their documentation. Should staff require additional information in order to fully process an application, they will be sure to include the rationale for the request.

We aim to provide clear, simple information about the application submission and decision-making processes. If you have any feedback about how we can make ongoing improvements to this process, please contact Sheri Oliver at soliver@rpnao.org.


Nurse Profile

Yvonne RamlallName:    Yvonne Ramlall

Graduate: 2000 Humber College Certificate Program

Years in Nursing: 10 years (nursing as a second career). 25 years
experience in Medical Laboratory, 15 as a Haematology Technologist

Accomplishments: Certificate of Recognition Contribution as a Preceptor, George Brown College, April 2006, Research Award, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, May 2007. RPNAO Leadership Clinical Practice Fellowship, August 2007, Research Study accepted for Publication- for publication Fall 2010, SHSC Schulic Award for Nursing and Clinical Excellence.

Yvonne’s Vision:

“The health care system is undergoing many changes and we as RPNs are embracing those changes with grace and pride. It is these challenges that will enable us to climb the ladder and reach for the top of our profession. I look forward to each day with my patients and going home at the end of my shift knowing that they have had a better day.

As an RPN, who continues to blaze new trails, it is my dream that all RPNs will take the challenge to blaze their own trails and be as proud as I am to be an RPN.    
                                                                                                                                                          Yvonne Ramlall

Becoming an RPN as a second career

Being an RPN is important to me. I chose this career when I was at my weakest point, having suffered the loss of both my mother and my job as a haematologist. I needed a challenging change. Returning to school was invigorating. It was a new look at life beyond the lens of a microscope (my younger son advised me not to attend his college). My family supported me throughout this change in careers and continues to do so. And it was with my sons’ help that I gained more knowledge in the area of computers.

Yvonne Ramlall currently works at Holland Orthopaedic and Arthritic Centre/Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (HC/SHSC).

Commitment to Nursing

Yvonne actively supports nursing and since 2009, has represented the Central/Toronto District as a council member at the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). She was appointed to the CNO Council and Quality Assurance Committee in September of 2009 and was appointed to the CNO Fitness to Practice Committee in June of 2010. Yvonne is an RPNAO Member and also is an associate member of the Canadian Orthopaedic Nurses Association (CONA).She is also an Executive Member on the Board of the CONA, Toronto Chapter. In addition, she is a Nursing Council and Family Collaborative Committee Member and the union steward for RPNs at the HC, SEIU Local1.

Beyond Nursing

Outside nursing, Yvonne enjoys cooking and inviting relatives and friends over. She is also active in her church (as secretary and helps with the planning and escorting of members on church trips). At the end of my day, being a gardener, pulling weeds and smelling the roses gives me the pleasure to look forward to the next day.

RPNAO Leadership Clinical Practice Fellowship (LCPF):

“My career as nurse continues to be a very rewarding experience. The changes are challenging, but with determination and strength it has been very successful so far. I have been fortunate to receive a LCPF and with this opportunity, my knowledge has grown immensely. I started with one question and I went from a novice nurse to a research nurse and now an author.”

In the spring of 2005, after learning about the RPNAO LCPF opportunity, Yvonne applied and was one of four RPNs to receive a fellowship in 2006. Yvonne, a member of the SHSC/HC Pain Collaborative Committee, which had a goal of improving patients’ satisfaction with pain following Total Joint Replacement (TJR) had a question: “Were the patients satisfied with the level of pain experienced during the first five days at home upon discharge from the HC and what was their daily level of pain on a scale from  0 -10?”. A literature review found very little data on this topic. However, it was identified as an important question that needed to be researched and led to the first step in Yvonne’s exciting journey. Following the LCPF Research Study, Yvonne has able to work with the Acute Pain Service (HC) to complete two further Late Career Initiatives related to post operative TJR recovery.

The work on this project was submitted to the International Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing, UK and was accepted for publication in 2008. The revision process was intense, but the submission was finally accepted in July 2010 and will be available online by the fall of 2010. In addition, Yvonne will be presenting at the first International Collaboration of Orthopaedic Nursing Conference to be held in Dublin, Ireland from September 16 - 17, 2010.

Yvonne has already presented this study a number of times in the past at venues including the Nurses Research Conference, CONA Toronto Chapter Pat Jones Day Conference, HC/SHSC, poster presentations at the CONA National Conference and the RPNAO 50th AGM & Conference.

This journey has exceeded my expectations. At this point in my career, I believe that my knowledge gained and the opportunity to share this knowledge will be beneficial to all nurses. I know it has made me a better nurse and has empowered me to continue to provide the best care to my patients and to educate them. At this point in time, the role of the RPN has expanded to full scope. We are accepting the challenges with strength and dedication to the profession.

Career  Development

Gabrielle Bridle

The lazy, hazy days of summer will soon be a distant memory, but here at RPNAO, the work goes on. Over the summer, we continued to conduct employer presentations on the role and utilization of RPNs. I attended several graduation ceremonies where it was my honour to present the RPNAO Student Award and other presentations to students in practical nursing programs.
As a new school year begins, we are accepting requests for college presentations. In the coming months, we will be:

  • hosting a booth at the 14th annual Ruth Ruttan Footcare Conference in Gormley, Ontario,
  • attending a Health & Wellness Career Day at Bingemans Conference Centre in Kitchener,
  • co-exhibiting with RNAO at the Ontario College Fair in Toronto,
  • exhibiting at the International Nursing Interest Group in Toronto,
  • attending the Gerontology Nurses Association Conference in Hamilton,
  • sharing information with stakeholders at the Ontario Hospital Association Conference in Toronto,
  • providing information on practical nursing at Career Day Information sessions at high schools,  and
  • attending the Canadian Association of Practical Nurse Educators Conference in Brandon, Manitoba.

We have also seen a marked increase in RPNs requesting face-to-face meetings for career advice, development of cover letters and resumes and professional guidance. And, of course, we continue to respond to the hundreds of emails and telephone calls we receive from RPNs around the province on a daily basis.

Over the summer, we have expanded information on our Student Resource page, developed an information brochure on becoming an RPN and a Fellowship Toolkit to assist RPNs interested in applying for a Fellowship.

This is just a quick snapshot of the services provided for RPNs by RPNAO. We are here to support members and non-members to the very best of our ability.

I am looking forward to another very busy and productive year at RPNAO. And please remember that every membership helps make our collective voice stronger and helps us to improve the working lives and opportunities of RPNs in order to retain nurses and recruit new people to the profession of nursing.

Student Resources

As part of our goal of providing the best support possible for students, the Student Resource section of the RPNAO website has been updated and now includes an expanded list of 25 resource links for students researching topics in health care.  Frequently, RPNAO is contacted by students asking for links to scholarly resources and to provide more timely support and direct access for our students, the resource list includes the most frequently requested sites. The student resource page will continue to grow to support our student members learning needs so let us know how we can continue to support you. Click here to access links.

Education Trust Fund

As our student members begin a new year in their nursing programs, RPNAO wants to remind them that the RPNAO Education Trust Fund provides four $750 bursaries each year to deserving practical nursing students.

For anyone who has not yet applied for this year’s bursaries, please remember to do so before Oct. 31, 2010. Applications will be accepted from both first and second year practical nursing students.

Each applicant must submit an essay of a minimum of 750 words (more is acceptable) on one of the following topics:

  • Legislation
  • Advocacy for RPNAO
  • Scope of Practice
  • Leadership

A letter from your nursing faculty attesting to your professionalism and performance must accompany the application. Applicants will be notified by Nov. 20, 2010, of the committee’s decision.

If you have questions, please contact Olivia Vargas by phone, 905-602-4664, ext. 221, or email her at ovargas@rpnao.org or visit www.rpnao.org for more information.