As Canada experiences increasing demand overall for healthcare professionals who have developed the skills to support those living with mental illness, the pandemic has particularly highlighted the growing shortage of nurses with these specific skills. There is also an opportunity in this regard to improve the job readiness of the nursing workforce as a whole, including those entering the workforce and/or returning to practice. Many newly qualified nurses have had minimal opportunity during their degree program to develop the skills required to effectively care for those living with mental illness.
Within the partnership framework, Ontario Shores and TALENT will work together to address this growing shortage by jointly developing a comprehensive suite of microcredentials that will enable the rapid and effective development of targeted skills to increase capacity and capability in the sector. Leveraged by employers such as Ontario Shores, The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care and The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the microcredentials will provide the workforce with a portable and consistent opportunity to articulate their skills and competencies in mental healthcare thereby enhancing their mobility across the sector. Although initially focusing on nursing, the microcredentials will be offered to other healthcare professionals in the second phase of the partnership (Fall 2022 onwards) to further expand capability in the sector and support a common set of standards for mental healthcare in Ontario.
“We are excited about our partnership with TALENT to foster the mental health learning and development of nurses and future healthcare professionals,” said Sanaz Riahi, Vice-President, Practice, Academics and Chief Nursing Executive, Ontario Shores. “We look forward to experiencing how this collaboration will accelerate the skills and expertise of new and future clinicians to support the growing mental health needs of Ontarians.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Ontario Shores on this opportunity to build capability and capacity in mental healthcare in Ontario. We all recognize that there are a growing number of Canadians who are living with mental illness and deserve a highly skilled workforce working collaboratively to provide the care they need. As we collectively learn more, by drawing on evidence-based practice in mental healthcare, TALENT’s rapid product development model is well positioned to ensure our microcredentials remain relevant and focused on the high demand and emerging skills required.” said Rachel Sumner, Executive Director of TALENT.
“At The Royal, our nurses require advanced training and skill development on a variety of mental health competencies,” Esther Millar, Vice President, Patient Care Services, Professional Practice and Chief Nursing Executive, The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group said. “The Mental Health Nursing microcredentials enables The Royal to easily and efficiently ensure our new nurses obtain these advanced skills, whether they be entry to practice or nurses experienced in other units. As the microcredentials have been developed using the latest evidenced-based knowledge, they will be valuable as a refresher for our experienced mental health nurses as well. Supporting our nurses to attain the skills and knowledge they need to provide excellent care, is one of the best actions we can take to retain these valuable team members.”