Ontario Shores receives Employer Recognition Award

September / October 2017   Comments
Teckles Photography Inc.CNA president-elect Claire Betker presents the award to Karim Mamdani, president and CEO of Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences.

Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, Ont., is the recipient of CNA’s 2017 Employer Recognition Award for exemplary support of nurses seeking specialty certification.

“We truly believe that knowledge translates into excellence in practice,” says Barb Mildon, a vice-president at Ontario Shores and its chief nursing executive. “When nurses are engaged in expanding their learning and demonstrating their expertise through the rigorous exam, we believe this keeps them current in their practice, identifies them as role models and enables them to influence the best possible outcomes for our patients.”

Ontario Shores is a public mental health hospital with 326 inpatient beds, about half of which are forensic. It also has two geriatric units. Of the 372 RNs on staff, 91 — nearly 25 per cent — have achieved CNA specialty practice certification.

Mildon says the institution supports certification by reimbursing the full cost of writing the exam. Nurses who don’t pass the exam are not required to pay back the fees.

“It’s important to help the nurses prepare for the exam, and so we hold clinical learning workshops,” Mildon adds. “Experts present on a series of topics, and we take [nurses] through the competencies and the content expected to be covered in the exam.”

All Ontario Shores nurses who achieve this milestone are invited to a staff forum, where the CEO reads out their names and invites them to stand and be applauded. Refreshments follow for all attendees.

Nurses anywhere in Canada can nominate their employer for the award, which has been given out annually since 1999. A subcommittee of CNA’s board of directors makes the selection, based on criteria including the level of support the employer provides for specialized nursing knowledge and for nurses who are seeking certification and how the employer acknowledges its CNA-certified nurses.

Two employers received honourable mentions in 2017: Eastern Health, the largest integrated health organization in Newfoundland and Labrador, and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Mental Health and Addiction Services in Hamilton, Ont.

Patricia Elliott-Miller, CNA’s executive lead for Certification and Professional Development, says it’s important to salute employers who value the certification program. “Whether they are renewing or certifying for the first time, nurses tell us that employer support makes the difference.”

Kate Jaimet

Kate Jaimet is a freelance journalist in Ottawa.

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