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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:

  1. Self-Assessment
  2. Practice Assessment
  3. Peer Assessment

Why is CNO focusing on practice reflection this year?

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.  However, being a reflective nurse is an ongoing process and fundamental to safe, quality care. CNO has developed new reflective questions designed to help you reflect on your unique experiences this past year and help you start considering your learning needs for 2021.

Where can I find the new 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.

Will CNO have access to my practice reflection?

No. CNO will not ask for your Practice Reflection answers. The process of reflecting is your individual accountability.

Do I need to complete an Action Plan (previously known as the Learning Plan) for 2020?

Yes. It is your accountability under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 to complete an Action 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.  Either way, nursing practice is always evolving, and it is critical that you keep up-to-date in your knowledge, skill and judgement. You should reflect on your nursing practice, identify the gaps in your knowledge (learning needs) and set out learning goals and activities to mitigate the gaps.

What if my Action Plan changed from the beginning of the year until now?

As reflective practitioners, nurses continually reflect on their practice to identify opportunities for continuous improvement and support lifelong professional learning and growth. The COVID-19 pandemic this year has resulted in many changes for health professionals, including redeployment and reprioritization of work. If your learning goals have changed due to the pandemic or if there has been other significant changes in your practice, it is appropriate to change your Action Plan.

Will CNO select nurses for Practice Assessment this year?

No. All other QA activities, including the selection of nurses for Practice Assessment, are on hold. Practice Assessment will resume in 2021.

Do I have to participate in the QA Program if I am newly registered with CNO?

Yes. Nurses registered in the General and Extended classes are expected to reflect daily on their practice and participate 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.

I’m registered in the General Class, but not currently working. How do I reflect on my practice?

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 that 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 Action Plan.

When will the new QA program take effect?

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNO is focusing resources to support the health care system.  We are postponing the official launch of the new QA program until 2021.

Where do I check for updates for CNO’s QA program?

Updates to CNO’s QA program will be available on our website. We also will notify you of any changes in The Standard, and on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram pages.

Page last reviewed September 08, 2020