Research Think Tank Day

On June 28, 2018 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. 

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!


Goal set, goal met!

We're celebrating the over 2000 RPNs who participated in our Changing Workplaces in a Knowledge Economy research study on the changing nature of nursing work.
RPNs told us they want to enage with research and we're thrilled to have new groundbreaking research on the impact RPNs are having across Ontario!

Thank you!

Research for and about RPNS

As evidence informs practice, it is important to participate, support and review research that impacts the Registered Practical Nurse (RPN).

Changing Workplaces in a Knowledge Economy: Registered Practical Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RPNAO) Study 

We think that you’ll agree…people don’t know enough about Ontario’s RPNs

Here is a chance to help to change that!  Bring some RPN friends along too!

You are invited participate in a Research Study on the changing nature of nursing work.  This study originally included only RNs and NPs.  RPNAO advocated for the inclusion of RPNs in the study and is now supporting the RPN phase of this research. 

Contact Barbara Jones for more information regarding results expected sometime in June 2019.



Changing An Unacceptable Reality: Enabling Nursing Knowledge for Quality Resident Outcomes in Ontario's Long Term Care Homes

The purpose of this study was to describe the enablers and barriers to the provision of optimal resident care in Long Term Care and to evaluate the impact of these factors on specific nurse and resident outcomes.  The study was guided by an advisory panel of RPNs and RNs in both direct practice and administrative roles in LTC, and a RN with LTC experience as a family member of a resident.  

Click on the title to download the report.  For a bound copy of the report, contact Barbara Jones



It's all About Synergies


Understanding the Role of the Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario's Health Care System

The purpose of this project was to invite Ontario's nurses, nurse leaders, nursing faculty and other health care experts to share their knowledge and insights regarding the critical factors that support or hinder the appropriate utilization of RPNs and their ability to optimize their scope of practice as a member of intra and inter professional health care teams.


Click on the title to download the report.  For a bound copy of the report please contact Barbara Jones


High Functioning Nurse Teams: Collaborative Decisions for Quality Patient Care

NHSRU has just published their latest report, High Functioning Nurse Teams: Collaborative Decisions for Quality Patient Care. The project aims to describe and assess how RNs, RPNs and their clinical managers perceive high functioning nursing teams.

The report explores:

  • The link between individual attributes of team members and team performance
  • The characteristics of successful high functioning nurse teams
  • How team members work together seamlessly

Visit the NHSRU website to read a summary and view the report.


Annual Literature Review

RPNAO undertakes an annual review of scientific and academic literature to examine the methods, variables, and major research findings that include or specifically examine the RPN or similar role outside of Ontario and Canada.

RPNAO 2014 Literature Review

RPNAO 2013 Literature Review

Retaining RPNS: Impact on Quality Care 2012

There is an extensive body of literature on the factors associated with retention among nurses, although very little research focuses specifically on RPNs. RPNs were interviewed about their work experiences and asked to identify key factors affecting their ability to provide high-quality care. This report provides a summary of what was revealed through the focus groups.

Retaining RPNs: Impact on Quality Care- Final Report (November 19, 2012)

Retention and Recruitment Survey 2010

RPNAO identified ongoing challenges related to the limited amount of the Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) related research and the interpretation of available nursing research that supports sustainable decision making process specific to RPN. This limited knowledge continues to results in the role (utilization) of the RPN to remain largely misunderstood by peers, health care administrators and the public.

Recruitment and Retention Research

For more information on current research projects and publications please contact Barbara Jones


Building nursing role clarity on a foundation of knowledge and knowledge application

Authors: Dianne Martin, RPN, RN, MA and Annette Weeres, RN, MN

Healthcare Management Forum 1-4 ©2016

The Canadian College of Health Leaders. All rights reserved.


Enhancing Role Clarity for the Practical Nurse A Leadership Imperative

Authors: Sara Lankshear, PhD, RN Janet Rush, PhD, RN Annette Weeres, MN, RN, Dianne Martin, MA, RPN, RN

 The Journal of Nursing Administration, JONA Volume 46, Number 6, pp 300-307

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.