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History

1938

Centers began offering courses in "Practical Nursing". The six-month training program was applauded due to a shortage of nurses and an increasing need for bedside nursing care.

1941-45

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) undertook, with the approval of the Ontario Department of Health, the sponsorship of eight six-month training programs for which 107 "Practical Nurses" graduated. These Practical Nurses were required to meet the need for more nurses during World War II and were to be phased out at the end of a five-year term.

1946

As the shortage of nurses continued, an enquiry into "practical nursing" in all provincial hospitals was conducted by the Minister of Health. The enquiry concluded that there was a need to establish training schools and to provide for the licensing of practical nurses. In September 1946, the first training centers for nursing assistants, offering a nine-month training program, were opened in Toronto, Kingston and Hamilton under the joint sponsorship of the Ontario Department of Health and the Department of Education.

1947

The Nurses' Act was amended to provide for the title "Certified Nursing Assistant", following the recommendations of the Canadian Nurses' Association and RNAO.

1950

In April, training programs began to be sponsored solely by the Ontario Department of Health. The Department of Education withdrew its sponsorship. There were five training centres and 471 Certified Nursing Assistants at this time.

1951

RNAO became responsible for the registration and establishment of standards for admission to schools of nursing under the Nurses' Registration Act. All matters dealing with Nursing Assistants were encompassed within the Nurses' Act, but would remain under the jurisdiction of the Nursing Branch of the Department of Health.

1953

Department of Health lengthened the NA program to 10 months.

1954

Hospitals that offered NA training were adjusting their programs to meet the Health Department's program as regulated by the Nursing Act.

1955

There were now 13 training centres and 950 CNAs.

1957

Two variations of the NA program were instituted: part-time evening and a Department of Education secondary school program taken in Grades 11 and 12.

1963

Under the Nurses' Act, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) was created as a statutory body to protect the public interest with regard to the nursing profession. The CNO consisted of an elected council of: 15 elected Registered Nurses, four RNs who were appointed by RNAO, some Ministry of Health appointees, and one RN who was appointed by RNAO to represent RNAs. The title of the Certified Nursing Assistant was changed to "Registered Nursing Assistant".

1967

The College reduced the RNA training program to 35 weeks. OARNA appealed to the Minister of Health for an RNA representative on College Council. There were 14,000 RNAs registered in Ontario.

1975

Fifty training centres and 31,000 RNAs registered in Ontario.

1981

OARNA presented recommendations to the CNO regarding the role of the RNA. The major issue was that the NA curriculum required an immediate review. RNAs were being extremely under-utilized and little or no effort was being made to develop their potential. The Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario Nursing Homes Association and OARNA all requested an expanded role for the RNA. In July 1981, the CNO announced that instruction in medication administration would be deleted from the Nursing Assistant program. Meanwhile, instruction in aseptic techniques was added to the program.

1990

The RNA role expanded into VON, Home Care and all aspects of health and social services in the community. There were 34,600 RNAs registered in Ontario and 42 training centres. The five regional schools transferred to colleges.

1993

The NA program is to be lengthened from one year to one and a half years with inclusion of the administration of medication, more assessment, leadership as well as community nursing. The title was changed to Registered Practical Nurse with the proclamation of the Regulated Health Professions Act.

1999

CNO published the Entry to Practice Competencies for RPNs [as of 2005] which acknowledged changing competencies expected for beginning RPN practitioners.

2001

(March) Ministry Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) published revised Practical Nursing Program Standards, which set the program standard for Practical Nursing Programs approved by the MTCU for delivery by Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology. Practical Nurse programs began the necessary revisions to meet the new standards. In March 2001, the Council of College of Nurses of Ontario passed the motion that practical nurse applicants for registration must graduate from a practical nurse community college program that incorporates CNO's entry to practice competencies into its curriculum and that meets a standardized approval process. In June, Council approved proposed revisions to the Registration regulation to change the requirement for RPN entry to practice to a diploma from a College of Applied Arts and Technology, effective January 1, 2005. These changes were the result of extensive collaboration and research.

2002

(January) Four PN programs begin offering new 4 semester PN Diploma programs. Colleges hired RPNs to instruct in the PN Basic Program. In summer 2002, all remaining programs submitted program revisions to MTCU for approval. All colleges began offering the PN diploma program in September 2002.