In 2006, the Government of Ontario created the Nursing Retention Fund (NRF) to help nurses with education and training needs resulting from workforce transitions in public hospitals. Unused monies from the NRF were held in trust for a period of time and this past year, in accordance with the terms of the trust the residual funds were distributed to nursing professional associations. The RPNAO received some of the residual trust funds and has used these to establish the RPN Innovation Fund. This fund provides a new opportunity to make investments in the development of RPNs to support them to meet the emerging needs of patients and our system.

What is innovation? Simply stated, it is the development and introduction of something new; something that is a significant improvement. Innovation isn’t about doing the same thing over again. It is about change, development and growth. It’s about unleashing potential. Innovating is a highly creative process and requires that we engage in “blue sky thinking”, or in other words generating ideas that aren’t bound by current thinking or beliefs. How exciting is that?! RPNAO envisions using the RPN Innovation Fund to lead the way to the optimization of the RPN role in our health care system now and into the next decade.

Exactly how that is to be done is yet to be determined, and we need you to help us put the plan in place. In the coming year, the RPN Innovation Fund program will be developed with input from RPNAO members and other RPNs across the province, employers of RPNs and other key stakeholders such as health planners, public health professionals and academic partners. As part of this process, RPNAO has hired Barbara Jones as Director, Nursing Innovation to develop and administer the RPN Innovation Fund program. Barb can be reached by email at or by phone (905) 602-4664/1-877-602-4664 extension 253.

As a first order of business, Barb will be travelling to each RPNAO region around the province holding focus groups and meeting with RPNs and other stakeholders to get input and ideas for the development of the RPN Innovation program. The information about this provincial tour is available here and the full tour schedule is posted below. Travel grants are available to support RPNs to attend the focus group. And as an added bonus, if you help us out by attending the focus group, we are offering you attendance at our role clarity workshop, FREE of charge! Please attend if you can; the more input we have, the better we can direct the RPN Innovation Fund to have the greatest impact optimizing the RPN role. For those who are unable to attend focus group sessions in person, an online survey (currently being developed) will be available on the RPNAO website. Let us hear your creative voice!

As is our usual practice, RPNAO is committed to transparent accountability to our members in terms of how this fund is being used. Updates on the development of the RPN Innovation Fund program will be provided to members on an ongoing basis and a report on the work of the fund will be included in our next and subsequent Annual Reports.


Barb Jones
Director Nursing Innovation, RPNAO

Category: Education and PracticePDF Files: PDF icon Optimizing the RPN Role In Ontario Provincial Tour 2017 schedule_1.pdfDate: Tuesday, April 4, 2017