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Modernizing Standards

CNO is working on modernizing practice standards to reflect the evolving health care needs of patients and the dynamic nature of the nursing profession.

Refer to this page regularly to be notified about ongoing work on the Modernizing Standards project.

Why is CNO modernizing standards?

CNO’s practice standards exist to promote safe nursing practice. With constant changes to the health care needs of patients and the nursing profession, our practice standards need to be modernized to better reflect current practice realities, public expectations and societal values.

A comprehensive review to modernize standards will:

  • reduce duplication
  • address gaps in content
  • promote consistency
  • increase accessibility
  • align with CNO’s strategic plan, and
  • ensure they are contemporary and relevant to complexities and risks of nursing practice

What will modern standards look like?

Modern standards will:

  • target risk by identifying specific and relevant risks of harm
  • be evidence-informed by leveraging insights from current data from sources such as literature, jurisdictional scans and stakeholder perspectives.
  • reflect current health care needs, nursing practice, health system environment and societal values (for example, including diversity, equity and inclusion principles).
  • be consistent with legislative requirements
  • move away from detailed clinical standards
  • focus on outcome-oriented standards and principles relevant to regulation, for example medication standard with principles focusing on authority, competence and safety
  • be clear and easy to understand by nurses, employers and the public
  • be easily accessible to nurses, employers and the public by leveraging current technology

Current work

Our first priority in modernizing standards is to develop an evidence-informed framework to guide standards modernization.

To build this framework, we are gathering evidence by:

  • conducting literature and environmental scans of other regulators and legislation
  • examining how the framework may impact CNO’s regulatory functions, for example, understanding how modern standards will impact program approval.
  • engaging external stakeholders and key informants to understand their perspectives

A key consideration in building the framework is to keep CNO’s Code of Conduct as the overarching, prominent practice standard, supported by topic specific practice standards, such as medication or documentation, to provide the level of detail necessary to support safe nursing practice and to meet regulatory accountabilities .

Next steps

In the fall of 2021 until the end of this year, we will continue to use evidence to identify what needs to be incorporated into the framework.

In 2022, we will begin a robust stakeholder engagement process to advance our work in modernizing standards.

Resources provided to council

Discussion Note – Sept. 2021 
Discussion Note – June 2021 
Discussion Note – Mar. 2021 
Discussion Note – Dec. 2020

Additional information

CNO Strategic Plan 2021-2024 Outcomes 
The Standard – January 2021 

Page last reviewed October 22, 2021