Ontario Bolstering Nursing Workforce in Emergency Departments

In Provincial

New funding helping over 1,000 nurses in rural and remote hospitals develop new skills to provide ED care

The Ontario government is continuing to build a stronger, more resilient health care workforce by investing $10 million to help more than 1,000 nurses upskill their training to provide emergency department care. This will help bolster, stabilize and maintain the nursing workforce in emergency departments across the province, especially in rural and remote hospitals, to connect more people to critical care close to home.

“Our government continues to expand Ontario’s health care workforce and add thousands of new nurses to deliver high-quality care for people and families closer to home,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This investment will break down barriers and provide more opportunities for emergency department nurses to grow in their career as we build a stronger, more resilient health care system for generations to come.”

Since its launch last year, over 400 nurses from 72 rural and remote hospitals received this upskill training. Today’s investment enhances the program this year to allow more than 1,000 nurses working in small, rural and remote emergency departments across the province to access four crucial training and education programs:

  • Virtual Training Modules to deliver high-quality, interactive sessions for general ED orientation, core competency skills and more. Over the last year, 847 sessions were attended by nurses from 72 small, rural, and remote hospitals.
  • Immersion Programs that provide multi-day, in-person, skills training to educate new emergency department nurses in small, rural, and remote hospitals. Over the last year, 53 nurses from 26 small, rural, and remote hospitals attended three Immersion Programs and were able to get hands-on upskilling.
  • Specialty Training Fund to provide training education grants to support nurses to complete training courses for core ED nursing skills. Last year over 2,600 courses were funded to break financial barriers for nurses to upskill.
  • Establishment of Regional Educator Program that will increase access to important continuing education and training resources for ED nurses in their region.

“Nurses are telling us this program is invaluable,” says Judy Linton, Executive Vice-President & Chief Nursing Executive at Ontario Health. “They are able to effectively apply the content and skills learned in the course to their work, which is helping to ensure quality care to more Ontarians in emergency departments across the province.”

Through Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the Ontario government continues to take bold and decisive action to support the province’s highly-skilled workforce and ensure people and their families have access to high-quality care where and when they need it, closer to home.

The Emergency Department Nursing Education, Retention and Workforce Program is furthering nursing skills in the emergency department to better meet the needs of communities. The program enables access to education, particularly for nurses in small hospitals that do not have ready access to emergency department nurse education and those in remote areas who would otherwise have to travel long distances. Access to the program supports the retention and recruitment of emergency department nurses.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2018, Ontario has seen a record-breaking number of new health care professionals join the workforce, adding 80,000 new nurses with another 30,000 nurses currently studying at Ontario colleges and universities, and adding over 24,000 new PSWs since 2020.
  • Since expanding the role of registered nurses to prescribe medications, 122 registered nurses have been authorized to prescribe, after meeting specific requirements, with close to 900 more prepared to take the required education.
  • The province continues to work with the College of Nurses of Ontario to break down barriers for internationally educated nurses. The Supervised Practice Experience Partnership provides internationally educated nurses the opportunity to demonstrate their current nursing knowledge, skill and language proficiency while working to meet the requirements to enter practice as a nurse. This program has funded more than 3,400 internationally educated nurses since it launched in January 2022.
  • Last year, over 17,000 new nurses registered to work in the province, a record number of new nurses registered to work in the province, with another 30,000 nursing students currently studying at one of Ontario’s colleges and universities.
  • Ontario is investing $743 million over three years to continue to address immediate health care staffing needs, as well as to grow the workforce for years to come.
Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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