StFX nursing school advances excellence in patient care with help of RNAO

ANTIGONISH, NS, Dec. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - A new partnership, which will help shape nursing education and position tomorrow's RNs to improve patient care, has been signed between St. Francis Xavier University's (StFX) School of Nursing and the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).

Under the agreement, the StFX School of Nursing will implement RNAO's best practice guidelines (BPG) into its curriculum. The guidelines are evidence-based tools used by nurses to provide patients with the highest quality of evidenced-based care. Almost 50 BPGs have been developed that address the health needs of people across all health-care sectors.

Dr. Diane Duff, Director of the StFX School of Nursing notes that this initiative has significant potential to improve patient outcomes that can be measured and replicated across the health-care system in Nova Scotia. By integrating RNAO's BPGs across the nursing curriculum, students will see that health-care knowledge and practice guidelines that are learned in class are the same as those being used and evaluated in practice. Adoption of the BPGs builds on the strength of the current curriculum and makes evidenced-based practice explicit. "We are looking forward to working with RNAO and our partners to utilize effective strategies to improve various dimensions of nursing practice including: therapeutic relationships; self-management of chronic disease conditions; management of diabetic foot ulcers; screening for delirium, dementia, and depression; and primary prevention of childhood obesity. This is a wonderful opportunity for nurses and other health professionals in Nova Scotia, including students, clinicians, administrators, and researchers to participate in the implementation, evaluation, and development of practice guidelines that reflect up-to-date knowledge," says Dr. Duff.

Dr. Jo Anne MacDonald will co-ordinate the initiative on behalf of the nursing faculty. Inclusion of stakeholders from a variety of acute care, long-term care, and community care agencies was initiated in a four-day workshop at the university facilitated by the director of RNAO's BPG program, Dr. Irmajean Bajnok. She was also appointed as the Dr. W. F. James Chair of Studies in the Pure and Applied Sciences to work on this initiative with the faculty. As the project unfolds over the next three years, capacity will be developed by raising awareness, gaining buy-in, and securing resources to ensure successful implementation of best practices. The development of an evaluation plan at the onset of the project and conducting research are key approaches to understanding and sustaining the impact of best practice guideline utilization. StFX University School of Nursing will be contributing to RNAO's evaluation database (Nursing Quality Indicators for Reporting and Evaluation (NQuIRE) with key structure, process and outcome indicators related to academic excellence.

"We're delighted that StFX has partnered with us to become a Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO). It clearly demonstrates their commitment to excellence in nursing practice, education and research and the recognition that RNs play a leading role in quality health care," says Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO`s Chief Executive Officer and founder of BPG program, adding this year's announcement with the school of nursing has special significance because it's the 10th anniversary of RNAO's BPSO program, which has become an international success.

StFX joins an impressive list of 320 health care and academic BPSOs and associated sites from around the world that are implementing RNAO's guidelines to enhance the health and well-being of their patients and clients.

"Thousands of RNs are already using RNAO's BPGs in their clinical practice. Now, nursing students at St. Francis Xavier have access to this important tool that will give them an edge in their career," says Dr. Grinspun. 

RNAO's Best Practice Guidelines Program is funded by Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and was launched in 1999 to provide the best available evidence for patient care across a range of health-care settings. The guidelines developed to date are contributing towards excellence in Ontario's health-care system. The BPGs are available to nurses and other health-care professionals across Canada and abroad.

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

For more information about RNAO, visit our website at

SOURCE: Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

For further information: To arrange an interview with a nurse or for more information, please contact: Cindy MacKenzie, StFX Manager of Communications and Marketing, 902-867-2401/902-872-0612; Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO, Cell: 647-406-5605 / Phone: 416-408-5605, Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209,



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