TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - The College of Nurses of Ontario recently completed its most successful membership renewal season ever. More than 139,000 nurses renewed their membership with the College before the Dec. 31, 2011 deadline — an increase of over 2,300 on-time renewals when compared to Dec. 31, 2010.
"Nurses show commitment to the profession by renewing on time," says Suzanne Vogler, the College's Manager of Customer Service. "This was the second year that all Ontario's nurses had to renew by going online. Since launching online renewal in 2006, the College has seen yearly increases in the number of nurses who renew on time."
Anyone who wants to practise nursing in Ontario must hold a current membership with the College and renew it annually. (Renewal season starts in mid-October, giving nurses over two months to go online and renew.) Failure to meet the deadline requires nurses to pay an additional late penalty fee if they renew after Dec. 31.
Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14, 2012, another 13,689 nurses renewed. Nurses who did not renew by Feb. 15 had their College membership suspended. Once suspended, a person is no longer legally able to work as a nurse. In 2012, 2,002 nurses were suspended, which is a drop from 2,903 in 2011 (a decrease of 31 per cent). Some of these suspended members may actually be nurses who decided to retire from nursing but have not told the College that they have left the profession.
"The College suspends nurses who have not paid their annual fees because they are not meeting their legislated obligations as regulated health professionals," explains Vogler. "Anyone calling themselves a nurse and providing nursing care without current College membership undermines the public's confidence in the profession's ability to regulate itself. Sometimes, there can be public safety concerns when people who haven't maintained their membership with the College continue to provide nursing care. Practising while under suspension is considered professional misconduct."
Historically, less than two per cent of nurses are suspended each year and of these approximately 16 per cent reinstate their membership, which involves re-applying to the College and paying additional fees.
A list of suspended members is maintained in the "How We Protect the Public" section of the College's website (www.cno.org). The list is updated at the end of each day. Whether a person has a current College membership can also be checked on Find a Nurse, the College's online register of its members.
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