Improving health care by building partnerships with patients and the public

TORONTO, Oct. 20, 2016 /CNW/ - The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is launching an important initiative Saturday aimed at engaging and building partnerships with patients and members of the public.

RNAO is the professional body, which represents registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students in the province. In addition to being a leader in the development of health policy, the association is also known around the world for its widely acclaimed best practice guidelines (BPG), which improve patient outcomes by promoting evidence-based practices.

RNAO has a longstanding record of involving patients and the public in its work. Now, with the launch of the Patient and Public Engagement (PPE) initiative, the association will create a framework to formalize its processes to ensure a systematic approach that captures the perspectives of the public. The framework will establish and define key concepts, principles, and identify areas where non-health professionals can actively contribute to shaping RNAO's future policy work; the development, implementation and evaluation of its BPGs; and its communications.

Doris Grinspun, RNAO's chief executive officer, says engaging the public is essential since the core of the association's work is centred around the health of Ontarians. "At the policy level this means supporting people to remain healthy and being there for them in times of illness," she says. "We want to hear from people struggling to make ends meet and learn how to best help people from all walks of life to advance their health. These insights will help RNAO develop sound policy recommendations that create the conditions for them to remain healthy in the first place."

When it comes to health care, Grinspun says, "we want to learn from the public how we can  be full partners in their care, and shift away from the traditional approach where people are passive recipients of health care where something is done 'to' a 'patient' or a 'client' or a 'resident'. We want to change the channel and establish  partnerships where people are fully engaged in their own health, and we, as health professionals, use our professional knowledge to serve them."

The initiative is being co-chaired by Sholom Glouberman, an associate scientist with the Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research Unit at Baycrest in Toronto and Janet Roberts, a former chief nursing executive and vice president of clinical programs at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Both have extensive first-hand experience with the health-care system as patients. 

"RNAO has a proven track record as an activist organization, and that's why I am pleased to play a part in guiding this important work. The association's commitment to this initiative means patients, caregivers and other family members will have a voice that can lead to improvements in their own care, and may also result in better health care for Canadians as a whole," says Glouberman. 

"We are thrilled Sholom Glouberman and Janet Roberts are co-chairing this effort. They are experts in their own right and they have been on the receiving end of care. Their knowledge of the system's shortfalls and its potential to improve people's experiences are invaluable," adds Grinspun.


  • Doris Grinspun, chief executive officer, RNAO
  • Sholom Glouberman, co-chair, RNAO's Patient and Public Engagement initiative
  • Members of the public with lived experience


  • RNAO's Patient and Public Engagement initiative


  • Hyatt Regency Toronto, 370 King Street West, Toronto (Regency Ballrooms D/E)


  • Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 from 9:30 a.m.4:30 p.m.

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students 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 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

For further information: For more information, or to arrange an interview with a nurse, please contact: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), 416-408-5605 (office) , 647-406-5605 (cell),


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