Career pathways and support for education

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The availability of educational opportunities and the information and tools to seek, start and sustain a career pathway in nursing is critical. CFNU has called for the establishment of a $1-billion health education fund to support continuing education programs, nursing education programs and a bursary system for nursing students with guarantee return of service agreements. Innovative tools such as the CNA’s online portal – NurseONE – are key to helping nurses develop professionally by supporting continuing competence, education and career development. Visit to find out how.

Health human resource strategies must include these career pathway supports as they assist nurses to access opportunities for movement into new areas of specialization, and even into management or leadership positions. CFNU’s applied research in this area (Workplace Skills Initiative – New Skills for Nurses: A Partnership Approach to Professional Development, 2005, and Research to Action: Applied Workplace Solutions for Nurses, 2008) is profiled here.

International recruitment of nurses

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CFNU has recently participated in a consultation on the World Health Organization’s development of a code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel. This code addresses healthcare worker recruitment in countries experiencing a crisis shortage in their health workforce. CFNU also aligns itself with the principles endorsed by the International Council of Nurses’ Position Statement on Ethical Nurse Recruitment: fair labour practices, accurate disclosure, non-discrimination, objective grading criteria, access to education as well as induction and orientation programmes. Any recruitment strategy cannot be used alone as a means to rectify the nursing shortage. Recruitment can only succeed where retention efforts are even more of a priority. CFNU firmly believes that, despite the damage they cause, existing nursing shortages do not validate the recruitment of migrant health workers where a system lacks a solid foundation to support the retention of existing health workers and recruitment of domestic health workers. What do you think? Voice your opinion

Child care

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A career in nursing is 24/7 in nature, and child care is a significant challenge. Coverage of formal child care in Canada is patchy, even during more standard business week hours. We have heard from nurses across the country who cannot return to work after having children because of a lack of suitable child care options. Even for those who can find child care, if the situation is not ideal, this stress will manifest itself over the course of the workday. National leadership is needed to ensure that affordable and high quality child care and early education opportunities are available for all. Child care must be included within human resource retention and recruitment strategies. This is especially critical for already trained nurses who are needed at work, in hospitals, nursing homes, and in our communities.

CFNU proudly supports Code Blue for Child Care – a pan-Canadian campaign to build a public, non-profit child care system. Code blue means “medical emergency,” and working men and women, including many nurses, still need a national child care program to provide quality and safe child care. You can learn more about this campaign launched by the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC) by logging on to

Role overload and support for nurses

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A new study on role overload in Canada’s heath-care system (Duxbury & Higgins) confirms that health care workers are among the most stressed, overwhelmed and burned-out workers in the country. It showed that workers with supportive managers were the happiest and healthiest, most engaged, and have lower rates of absenteeism.

The study drove home the message that health care employers need to take care of their staff like they do their patients. (full article in Ottawa Citizen) 

What types of support could your organization provide to make you a happier, healthier nurse?

Or share an example that is already in place.