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Canadian nursing associations receive prestigious award

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The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) and the University of Ottawa (UO) have been recognized for their efforts to promote nursing excellence at the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) biennial conference in Indianapolis recently.

stti rnao award
LEFT to RIGHT: Heather McConnell, Associate Director, International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Program, RNAO; Barbara Davies, Co-chair, Nursing Best Practice Research Unit, University of Ottawa; Irmajean Bajnok, Director, International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Program, RNAO; Doris Grinspun, Executive Director, RNAO; and Carol Huston, President 2007 to 2009, Sigma Theta Tau International

The inaugural award recognizes the significance and value of collaborative efforts between nursing practice and academia to improve the health of people internationally.

“The association is thrilled to be recognized with such a prestigious award by STTI," according to Doris Grinspun, Executive Director. “What was once a dream is now a fully fledged program serving nurses, their patients and health-care organizations,” she added.

RNAO’s ambitious Best Practice Guidelines Program, funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, was launched in 1999 to provide realiable and accurate evidence for patient care across a wide spectrum of health-care areas. The 40 guidelines developed to date are a substantive contribution towards building excellence in Ontario’s health-care system. They are available to nurses, other health care professionals and organizations across Canada and abroad. To learn more about RNAO’s Nursing Best Guidelines Program or to view these resources, please visit www.rnao.org/bestpractices. The website also contains numerous toolkits, e-learning modules and PDA versions of the guidelines which are accessible and available to nurses around the world. Many of the guidelines have been translated to French and other languages.

Research and evaluation is integral to the programme. The research unit was established by the RNAO and the University of Ottawa to assess the impact of these guidelines on nursing practice, as well as clinical and organizational outcomes.

According to Grinspun, substantive improvements in nursing practice and patient outcomes are evident with the use of these guidelines, such as drastic decreases in pressure ulcers and falls.

According to Professor Barbara Davies of the University of Ottawa: “What is exciting is that research previously found in academic journals scattered all over the world is now summarized in the guidelines and directly accessible to nurses for their day to day practice. To be acknowledged for this work is truly inspiring."

Irmajean Bajnok, RNAO director of the International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Program, emphasized the importance of the spotlight organizations as they are “critical partners of this collaboration. It is nurses and health-care organizations that bring these guidelines to life for patients locally, nationally and internationally.”

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

The University of Ottawa is one of the largest nursing schools in Canada with 1500 students currently registered in several programs in English and French (BScN, Post-RN, Nurse-Practitioner, MScN, PhD). The School of Nursing has a vibrant PhD field entitled Evidence Informed Decision Making in Nursing and Health Care composed of faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows working together on best practice-related research.


Visitors at the Mapparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, Massachusetts. This was the site to launch Dr. Jean Watson's Million Nurse Project—during the 2010 International Year of the Nurse—to radiate heart-centered Love, Caring and Compassion through individual and collective global meditations. Photo Courtesy of the Mary Baker Eddy Library.