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CNO achieves milestone registration in new program

Less than five months into a brand-new program, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), in partnership with Ontario Health, has matched 1,000 potential nurses with employers so they can meet registration requirements.

The Supervised Practice Experience Partnership (SPEP) helps applicants achieve their evidence of practice and language proficiency requirements by matching people with a supervised practice experience. It’s one of many ways CNO is working to strengthen Ontario’s health care system and respond to the need for additional nurses who meet high standards to support patient safety.

“We’re very proud of all the applicants who have answered the call over the past few months,” says Anne Marie Shin, Director of Professional Practice for CNO. “And, I’m also proud of the work CNO has done to help match so many applicants. These initiatives help strengthen our health care system safely and we are building on that momentum.”

More ways to strengthen the system

SPEP, launched in January, is already contributing to a stronger health care system during a time of need. One hundred fifty-three nurses have gone through the program and are now fully registered, including Sukh Kaur, who was the first to complete the program in February and is providing care to patients at a long-term care home in Wingham, Ontario.

Partnering organizations also see the benefits of the SPEP. “We have great team members who are internationally educated working as personal support workers” says Wendy Miller, Director of Care of Schlegel Villages – University Gates Long-Term Care Home in Waterloo, Ontario. “Providing this opportunity and supporting their growth from PSWs to RPNs benefits us as they already know our residences and understand the work ethic and culture of the Village.” Miller also notes the speed with which some applicants who complete SPEP are registered with CNO. “One of our matches registered within 48 hours after we sent the program completion forms.”

In April, CNO announced that it would expand SPEP to include nurses returning to practice. CNO is also modernizing application assessment, offering different options to demonstrate language proficiency and working to improve its Quality Assurance Program.

“We are relentlessly focused on one of our largest shared challenges — meeting the demand for highly qualified nurses to practice with the knowledge, skill and judgment established by CNO’s standards,” adds Shin.

In addition to reaching this SPEP milestone, modernization efforts in other areas of our application assessment show growth in nursing applicants and registrants.

Last year, CNO registered the second-highest number of new Ontario nurses in the past decade. In 2021, we also marked the fifth consecutive year of increasing registrations of Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs), a growth priority for CNO. The 2021 number increased by 46% over 2020 to hit 3,235 — a new record. And just four months into 2022, we have already registered 2,836 new IENs and are poised to establish another new record. 

“We know that applicants and nurses are answering the call, and CNO is proud to do our part to achieve patient safety excellence in Ontario,” says Shin. 

Page last reviewed May 11, 2022