About the Nurses’ Health Program
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Mission and goals
The Nurses’ Health Program (NHP) is a voluntary bilingual program for Ontario nurses. It is designed to encourage nurses to seek treatment for substance use and/or mental health disorders that may affect their ability to practice nursing safely. It is a recognized best-in-class approach that focuses on early identification and referral for treatment. The program is modelled on similar ones used by other regulated health professions across the province.
NHP provides an opportunity for Ontario nurses with substance use and/or mental health disorders to receive support to recover and practice safely. It is designed so that eligible participants can continue practicing while following a treatment and monitoring plan.
The program monitors the nurses’ recovery so that they may be supported to practice safely or return to practice, which promotes professional accountability and protects the public.
The Nurses’ Health Program embraces the philosophy that nurses who have substance use and/or mental health disorders should have an opportunity for education, treatment and recovery. We know nurses benefit from specialized treatments that recognize their unique needs as health care professionals.
Our focus reflects the balance between supporting nurses in recovery and protecting the public. We believe that with the right support nurses can continue or return to safe nursing practice benefiting both the nurse and the public.
Benefits of NHP
When you join the program, you benefit from:
The Nurses’ Health Program is supported by:
NHP was developed when the four nursing organizations agreed this approach provides an effective channel for nurses with substance use and/or mental health disorders to receive support to recover and practice nursing safely.
No one is immune from substance use and/or mental health disorders. They can affect anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or occupation – including nurses. Without appropriate treatment and monitoring, these disorders can impact a nurse’s ability to practice safe nursing.
This was a key driver in moving the nursing profession to take action, resulting in the creation of the Nurses’ Health Program. Research shows that programs like NHP are highly effective in achieving earlier detection and removal from practice, decreasing risk of harm from relapse, and have the highest rates of sustained recovery.
Recognizing the importance of developing a specialized program for nurses in Ontario, the four supporting nursing organizations formed a working group to develop and implement the program. Based on key components from the Atkinson Report (a business plan for a Nurses’ Health Program in Ontario), NHP started to roll out in late 2018 and was fully launched across Ontario in January 2019.
NHP is an incorporated not-for-profit organization. It is led by a Board of Directors with equal representation from the four nursing organizations as executive sponsors of the program.
This governance model demonstrates to the nursing community a unified voice in supporting the key principles of the program and in sharing responsibilities for strategic leadership to ensure its success.
Lifemark Health Group (LHG) is the NHP service provider. In operation for over 20 years, LHG is one of the largest, most trusted, and most comprehensive providers in Canada, with over 2,500 highly-trained clinicians and medical experts in over 300 locations coast-to-coast.