On June 28, RPNAO hosted a Research Think Tank in Toronto, bringing together 40 experts in nursing research, health workforce research and planning, nursing and health administration and health education to brainstorm about research needed to demonstrate the value impact of an optimized RPN role in our healthcare system, particularly on patient outcomes.  RPNAO CEO Dianne Martin and Director Nursing Innovation Barbara Jones started the day with a presentation that outlined key information about Ontario’s RPNs, laying a shared foundation for participants to consider the issue.   

We were fortunate to have Dr. Jack Needleman, a globally respected UCLA researcher in nursing skill mix, health economics and patient safety join us for the day, providing a keynote address and contributing his expertise to the small group activities that made up the majority of the day’s agenda.  Dr. Needleman addressed the current state of nursing skill mix research, concluding that little if any is applicable to our unique situation in Ontario and highlighting the need for research that addresses the issues associated with our “Ontario Model” of nursing.  Because patient need is central to determining the most appropriate category of nurse to provide care, Needleman argued that a critical component of nursing research in Ontario relates to this process of “matching”.  Previous and well known research in nursing skill mix has not studied this.

Participants engaged in a number of exercises throughout the day designed to explore not only priority research questions but also potential data sources and study methods, principal investigators and funding sources.  Many ideas were generated and there was real enthusiasm for the development of RPN related research.  Participants identified that they had learned new things about the RPN role and about who Ontario’s RPNs are and they expressed a strong interest in staying connected and in participating in the phase of development of RPNAOs research agenda.

A successful and historic day, the first of its kind at RPNAO! Stay tuned for updates as our journey to demonstrate the value impact of RPNs continues.  A full report on the day with recommendations for next steps is in process and will be distributed to all participants and shared broadly. 


Barbara Jones
Director, Nursing Innovation

Category: Special FeatureDate: Tuesday, October 9, 2018