Safer Teams

VHA Research

Building a sustainable supply of home care RPNs through employer-based tuition-assistance programs

What’s the challenge?

COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-standing recruitment and retention challenges in the home care sector. While there is a shortage of care providers, the sector currently employs individuals who are not working to their full potential, like internationally-educated nurses, RPNs with the ambition to work to a greater scope of practice and PSWs with the drive to become RPNs but may lack financial means to achieve this qualification. Workplace tuition-assistance programs like Work$mart at VHA Home HealthCare, that are designed to give employees opportunities to grow while improving retention, show promise in supporting the career goals of care providers, however, evidence that shows the extent of its impact is limited.

What are we doing?

We will describe users of the Work$mart model and explore how well the Work$mart model supports entry to the RPN profession, professional development, and career laddering for RPNs, and finally retention of highly skilled workers. Findings from this study can inform the development and refinement of workplace education support programs at VHA and throughout the health care sector.

Project partners

Project Funder

Project Contact

Sandra McKay, PhD, MBA
VP, Research and Innovation
VHA Home HealthCare
smckay@vha.ca