FAQs: Quality Assurance
What is Quality Assurance?
Nurses maintain and enhance their competence through daily practice reflection, lifelong learning and by integrating that learning into their practice. As practicing nurses, QA is integral in ensuring the public receives safe, quality and ethical care.
The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 requires CNO to establish and administer a QA Program that assists nurses in maintaining competence and continually evaluating their practice.
CNO’s QA Program consists of three components:
- QA Assessment
- Coaching support
What is the plan for QA in 2021?
CNO acknowledges that it is an unprecedented time in health care. The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled nurses to work within a quickly evolving environment that can be challenging and distressing. Last year, CNO modified its Quality Assurance (QA) program because of the COVID-19 pandemic and asked you to focus on reflecting on your practice and unique experiences. This year, we will build on our current QA resources and activities to make sure they continue to meet the needs of nurses during the pandemic. We encourage you to engage in QA everyday by reflecting on your practice.
Where can I find the reflective questions?
You can find the reflective questions on the Practice Reflection section of our website.
Can I reflect with my team or in a group setting?
Yes. Reflection can take place in a group setting. Group reflection provides opportunities to learn from each other, identify common goals and inform your own assessment.
Do I need to complete a Learning Plan for 2021?
Yes. It is your accountability under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991
to complete a Learning Plan every year. You can do this however you choose. Some nurses use CNO’s template, other nurses prefer using a notebook to record their plans for the year. If you are selected for a QA Assessment, you will be required to submit your Learning Plan to CNO. You should keep a copy of your Learning Plan for two years.
What if my Learning Plan changes throughout the year?
As reflective practitioners, nurses reflect on their practice everyday to identify opportunities for continuous improvement to support lifelong professional learning and growth. Working in a pandemic can resultin many changes for health professionals, including redeployment and reprioritization of work. If your learning goals change due to the pandemic or if there have been other significant changes in your practice, it is appropriate to change your Learning Plan.
Will CNO select nurses for QA Assessment this year?
Yes. CNO will be selecting a small group of nurses to go through a QA Assessment. QA Assessment will include submitting your learning plan and a Code of Conduct exercise. You will receive feedback on your submitted QA activities from a Peer Assessor/Coach. If you don't successfully complete this assessment, you will be required to complete additional learning activities.
Do I have to participate in the QA Program if I am newly registered with CNO?
Yes. Newly registered nurses in the General and Extended classes are expected to participate in Quality Assurance by reflecting daily on their practice and participating in learning activities to maintain their continuing competence.
If I am registered with CNO in the General or Extended Class but I am not practicing nursing, do I have to participate in QA?
Yes. All nurses registered in the General and Extended Classes are expected to participate QA activities, except for nurses in the Non-Practising Class. For more information about the Non-Practising Class, go to the Registration Classes section of this website.
Even if you aren’t currently working, you can still reflect on your nursing practice experiences to determine your strengths, areas for improvement and learning needs. These experiences can include previous formal employment, or student placements if you are a new graduate.
You can also reflect on relevant new information and think about how it might influence your practice. For example, is there new evidence or legislation that may change how you would deliver care?
Part of practice reflection is getting feedback from peers. You can get peer feedback from a colleague who is familiar with your recent nursing roles, or include feedback from a previous clinical evaluation.
Once you have identified your learning needs from this reflection, you can plan your learning goals, and the activities you need to do to achieve them in your Learning Plan.