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Canadian Nurses Association shines spotlight on health employers

Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2012 — The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) today announced the winner of the 2012 CNA Employer Recognition Award. The prestigious prize honours employers who have shown an exceptional commitment to supporting registered nurses (RNs) pursuing and maintaining national certification in a range of nursing specialties/areas of nursing practice.

“Registered nurses by trade are committed to continuous learning,” said CNA president Judith Shamian. “Employer support on that journey is critical to success and that’s why we recognize exemplary organizations year after year. As health-care treatments, technologies and practices are always evolving, it’s important to ground nursing work in evidence and education. Ultimately, these employers are helping enable nurses to deliver the highest possible quality of care to Canadians.”

CNA offers voluntary certification in 19 specialties/areas of nursing practice including community health, emergency, gerontology, medical-surgical, perinatal, and psychiatric and mental health nursing. Today, more than 16,800 RNs have earned this nationally recognized credential.

This year’s top award winner is the not-for-profit Hill House Hospice of Richmond Hill in Ontario. Half of the eight-person nursing staff has obtained CNA certification. Hill House Hospice supported certification candidates by providing exam study materials and time off for exam preparation. The facility also offered compensation for 60 per cent of the exam cost, but with the majority of the hospice’s funds coming from direct donations, the nurses chose to cover their costs through other means because they wanted the resources to stay directly in patient care.

“Reviewing nominations for the CNA certification employer awards is always a pleasure because I get to see first-hand evidence of the support behind nurse certification, something that is especially important in this time of increasing standards, accountabilities and patient safety,” said Pamela Fralick, president and CEO of the Canadian Healthcare Association. “I was particularly impressed and, indeed, touched by the culture of respect, dignity, caring and the strong support for excellence.”

Many employers seek out CNA-certified nurses in their recruitment campaigns because they see the benefit in building a workforce of RNs who are officially recognized as qualified, competent and current in a specialty. Employers’ active participation in CNA’s Certification Program demonstrates commitment to patient safety and to creating a work environment that promotes continuing competence and excellence in patient care.

In addition to Hill House Hospice, two other organizations — Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and the City of Hamilton’s Public Health Services department — are being recognized with honourable mentions.

Mount Sinai Hospital demonstrates comprehensive, consistent support of its registered nurses seeking CNA certification. The facility was recognized for its support of nurses preparing for certification, its recognition efforts for RNs who are successful, and its commitment to advancing evidence-based nursing practice by giving preference to nurses with professional certification when recruiting for specialty areas.

More than 12 per cent of the City of Hamilton’s Public Health Services RN staff is CNA-certified. The organization is making a concerted effort to drive that number up by fully covering initial certification costs and placing no limit to the number of its RNs who seek the credential. RNs seeking certification benefit from two paid days off per year for continuous learning activities, and mentorship offered by those in the organization who are already certified.

CNA certification is obtained by successfully completing a rigorous exam process to ensure an RN’s specialized knowledge and skills are current and comprehensive. Certified nurses receive a trademarked certification distinction, which helps ensure career advancement opportunities, higher earning potential and even university credit toward obtaining a nursing degree. The CNA certification exams are developed by CNA-certified registered nurses across Canada.

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 146,788 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

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For more information, please contact:
Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca