Transforming Nursing Practices In Canada: A Case Study of the Ottawa Hospital Model

by Hugh Winsor, Werner Müller-Clemm, Kaye Phillips, Selma Didic | Jul 01, 2011

Executive Summary

Re-jigging the way 4,000 nurses work in Canada’s largest health sciences complex was a challenge driven by necessity when the Ontario government ordered the amalgamation of three large Ottawa hospitals and several associated treatment centres into one large entity – The Ottawa Hospital (TOH). But did it provide lessons for the broader delivery of healthcare services in the country? 

This question resonated with Ginette Lemire Rodger, RN, MScN, PhD. She had returned to Ottawa in 1999, after completing doctoral studies at the University of Alberta, with a mandate to re-engineer nursing services at TOH. Given her academic background, she was receptive to a proposal from Michael Kerr, an epidemiologist at the University of Western Ontario and assistant professor at the School of Nursing.

Dr. Kerr suggested tracking and evaluating in a documented research project the process Dr. Rodgers, as Chief of Nursing, was undertaking to introduce a new, comprehensive model of nursing clinical practice throughout the new hospital. Such a project would enable organizations wishing to modify or duplicate the model to make evidence-based decisions on how to proceed. The result was research project RCI-0858-06, Adopting a common nursing practice model across a recently-merged multi-site hospital, under the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation 2002 Open Grants Competition. The project also received financial support from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and The Change Foundation.

This report briefly explores the development of the Ottawa Model of Nursing Clinical Practice (MoNCP©) and the research project that tracked its implementation. However, it also reaches beyond the original research, with its sometimes limited numbers and unexplained contradictions, to explore the model’s impact on the delivery of nursing services in Canada and abroad. It is possible, in fact, to trace a thread from the original research project to the implementation of new nursing models in many of the leading hospital complexes in Canada as well as regional healthcare systems in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and the international arena.