In the years ahead, we know the pressures on our health system will only continue to grow. With an aging population and increasingly complex patient needs, we must make sure we have the right mix of health professionals to tackle the challenges of today and prepare for those of tomorrow.
Right now, impending shortages of certain categories of nurses and other health professionals pose a significant threat to the future of healthcare in Ontario. While the number of RPNs in Ontario continues to grow each year, our province is currently experiencing a shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) and Personal Support Workers (PSWs).
With large numbers of RNs nearing the age of retirement and challenges recruiting and retaining PSWs, data suggests that without intervention these shortages will only worsen.
WeRPN has been advocating for government to enhance support for RPNs who wish to do so, to career ladder to the RN role. Read our business case. We have also advocated for the government to streamline pathways and expand educational opportunities by enabling Ontario colleges to grant BScn degrees.
In February 2020, the Government of Ontario announced plans to permit colleges to offer Bachelor nursing degree programs on a stand-alone basis.
In October 2020, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) consulted with stakeholders, including WeRPN, about a proposed regulation change that would allow colleges to grant degrees in nursing. The feedback was brought forward to the CNO council meeting in late 2020.
In December, regulation submitted by the CNO was approved to allow colleges to be able to offer BScN degrees independent of a university partner.
Over the coming months, interested Ontario colleges will be developing curriculum for nursing programs and submitting them for approval. We expect that new nursing programs will be announced in the near future. WeRPN will share more information as it is available.