RNAO’s VIANurse Program

RNAO continues its strong advocacy on the need to expand the capacity of Ontario’s health system to meet emerging health needs in tackling COVID-19. RNAO was the first out the door addressing growing nursing human resource shortages, as many RNs, NPs and PSWs are being quarantined and/or falling sick, and staffing needs escalate together with the acuity of the pandemic.

Seeking RNs, NPs and nursing students: Yes, we need your help. The knowledge and skills of RNs, NPs and nursing students are needed to meet a range of health-care needs. For those of you who have already responded to our surveys asking for help, we thank you for your enthusiastic and generous response – we will be in touch. Working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, we are reaching out to RNAO’s network of RNs, NPs and nursing students asking for your willingness and availability. Our surveys/registry remain open for:

Critical Care

Virtual and Clinical Care

Nurse Practitioners

Nursing Students

If you are available to help, please complete the appropriate survey listed on our COVID-19 webpage.

Critical Care survey

We asked for your help, and got it!  We released a survey a week ago to establish a registry of the available health human resources in the critical care areas of Emergency Rooms, Recovery Rooms, Intensive Care Units, Step Down Units or other relevant clinical area.  Your response was immediate, and strong.  We have received responses so far from 1016 RNs with experience and continued competency in the provision of critical care. This response, while not unexpected, is truly heartwarming in these difficult times!  We are already addressing the needs from several hospitals approaching RNAO for HHR augmentation and connecting these with you so they can proceed with the hiring processes. We have also connected respondents with an indigenous health authority in Northern Ontario who was very appreciative of RNAO’s timely assistance. Many, many thanks for your enthusiastic and generous response. Please note: The survey remains open.

NP survey

The knowledge and skills of nurse practitioners are needed to increase Ontario’s capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. NPs with experience, current competency and specialty certificates in primary care, adult care and paediatrics and who are able to return to work if retired or increase their hours of work, are asked in a survey RNAO launched on Friday, March 28 to share their availability in providing health-care services during this unprecedented emergency. Until now 283 NPs have filled out the survey to indicate their willingness and availability to work during the pandemic. The survey remains open.

Virtual and Clinical Care survey

RNAO’s survey on virtual clinical care and non-clinical services: As of today, 7,277 RNs and NPs responded to the RNAO survey with availability to provide virtual clinical care or non-clinical services. We continue to deploy colleagues as requested. We know that you are ready and eager to help and thank you hugely for it!  

PSW positions for nursing students

RNAO is helping to increase LTC Homes, Seniors’ Housing and Community Service Providers’ capacity to meet human resource needs to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The facilities listed in this registry are looking to fill personal support worker (PSW) positions. These are paid positions. They are looking for second, third or fourth year nursing students to fill these positions. The registry includes 426 senior’s residential care organizations, can be searched by city and organization. Students can apply from the page and the DOC or HR person of the home will receive the student’s application and take it from there. A number of organizations, including several undergoing an outbreak, have already been served by accessing RNAO’s ViaNurse


RNAO can help organizations increase their nursing human resource capacity to tackle COVID-19. To request RNs and NPs for your organization, fill out this form.  RNs and NPs in the city where your organization is located will be connected with you.

To request nursing students in second, third or fourth year for personal support worker (PSW) positions, fill out this form and your organization will appear in a registry where students will select hiring organizations through this registry. (Your home will appear on the registry within 24 hours.) Nursing students will be able search the registry by city and name of the homes. 

Since March 13 when RNAO launched its VIANurse program, 226 organizations have been served to augment their human resources. Many organizations have been served multiple times.


The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is working quickly to help support Ontario’s health care system during this unprecedented and rapidly changing situation. To enhance Ontario’s nursing resources, it is expediting registration for non-practicing nurses, including those who have retired or have an expired registration implementing an emergency class for nurses who work or have worked in other jurisdictions in Canada or the U.S. In addition, the College has created a new Temporary Class for students/new grads who have completed their nursing program, even if they have not written the registration exam. For more details see here.