Michael Garron Hospital launches multifaceted recruitment program in response to Ontario's nursing shortage

A 2021 MGH New Hires Survey said 92 per cent of employees would recommend someone they know to apply for a job at the hospital.

(Nov. 29, 2021) Toronto – Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) is proud to announce the launch of its new multifaceted nursing recruitment program aimed at addressing and responding to the needs and values of today’s nurses in a post COVID-19 recovery climate.

Ontario nurses needed now more than ever

“For 20 months, Ontario nurses and healthcare workers demonstrated unprecedented strength and resilience in the face of a devastating pandemic; they worked over-time, felt the enduring heat, sweat and exhaustion under their masks and face shields, cared for the sickest patients and experienced loss and trauma both in their personal and professional lives,” says Mikki Layton, Chief Nurse Executive at MGH.

“As Ontario hospitals begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is our duty and responsibility to take pause and meet nurses and healthcare workers where they are. This is about more than a competitive financial incentive – this is about listening to their needs and caring for people holistically; they need to be supported personally so they can thrive professionally.”

Survey results released by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)’s 2021 Work and Wellbeing Survey, indicated that 90 per cent of nurses experienced at least moderate stress due to the pandemic with midcareer nurses reporting the highest levels; early-career nurses reported the greatest challenges with coping. Thirteen per cent of registered nurses (RNs) aged 26-35 reported they were very likely to leave the profession after the pandemic.

In their report, RNAO urged employers to focus on reduced workload, increased mentorship opportunities in the workplace and access to mental health supports.

MGH highlights seven nursing-specific recruitment initiatives to support Ontario nurses

Nurses at MGH.


In an effort to address the needs of nurses today, MGH is offering seven innovative recruitment initiatives tailored to nursing students, early-to-mid career and experienced nurses:

  • MGH’s new Nursing Pathways Program provides nurses with hands-on experience in multiple clinical areas to prepare them for a career in specialty nursing. This includes:
    • Comprehensive orientation and preceptorship to support transition to MGH
    • Learning plans structured around professional growth
    • A series of 12-week extended clinical placements
    • Opportunities to participate in research and quality improvement initiatives
    • Ongoing support and mentorship from experienced nursing leaders.
  • Nursing Extern Program offers student nurses hands-on experience working as members of MGH’s interprofessional team.
  • Specialty Education Sponsorship to develop nurses in specialty areas across the hospital.
  • Nursing Graduate Guarantee supports new nurses with extended orientation and learning supports aligned with their professional development goals and needs.
  • Nursing Rotation Program provides early career nurses an opportunity to experience nursing in multiple areas of acute care.
  • Nursing Community Commitment Program offers a $10,000 incentive to eligible nurses in exchange for a 12-month work commitment.
  • A focus on Internationally Educated Nurses: East Toronto is home to many internationally educated nurses working to apply their skills and experience in their community. MGH is proud to provide Nursing Extern Program opportunities to qualified internationally educated nurses presently working towards or awaiting their license in Ontario.

For Jakeecia Henningham, the decision to become a nurse was not just about a career, but to live out her passion.

Jakeecia, RPN at Michael Garron Hospital

“My clinical placement at MGH helped set the pace for me and foster my love for nursing; eventually I was offered leadership roles in the COVID-19 vaccine clinic and mentorship opportunities in my current department. Now, being a part of the Health Professions Advisory Committee has also allowed me to grow not just as a nurse but as an individual,” says Jakeecia, Registered Practical Nurse in the MGH Emergency Department.

“For me, it was my work in the vaccine clinics, and especially the community, to see how people came together to care for their neighbours and get vaccinated; watching people put the needs of others before their own inspired humanity in me and reminded me why I do what I do.”

In a MGH New Hires Survey conducted in August 2021, which was circulated to any MGH employee who began working in the hospital within the last two years, 92 per cent of respondents said they would recommend someone they know to apply to a job at the hospital. In addition, respondents agreed on three main themes for what they liked most about working at MGH, including: their supportive and compassionate colleagues; friendly and welcoming workplace culture; and the commitment to the health of the community above all else.

“We applaud Michael Garron Hospital for recognizing the importance of supporting nurses professionally and personally. RNAO has spoken loudly about the need to build careers for nurses in Ontario, and we are thrilled to see MGH heeding our call by building a comprehensive program that will serve to attract and retain talent,” says Doris Grinspun, Chief Executive Officer, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).

“Like all dedicated health professionals, nurses want to know that their employer is willing to invest in their future. And that’s what MGH is doing by committing to do more to advance the aspirations of nurses and their careers. The program will benefit everyone: MGH as an employer of choice; RNs, NPs and RPNs; and most importantly, the patients and the communities the hospital serves. We are very proud to be a partner with MGH as a key member of Ontario’s and RNAO’s Best Practice Spotlight Organization OHT program.”

In addition, MGH launched its Finding Joy at Work campaign in fall 2021 to prioritize employee and physician satisfaction, engagement and well-being. The hospital conducted focus groups and surveys to gain valuable feedback from MGH employees on how to improve workplace practices including: scheduling and shift design, staffing models and building supportive environments that improve work-life balance and increase flexibility for employees. Survey results and feedback will be formulated into an action plan set to roll out in winter 2022.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario healthcare workers have been working tirelessly to care for Ontarians, working long hours and enduring difficult circumstances,” says Anthony Dale, President and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA). “The OHA has seen the sacrifices made by hospitals and their healthcare workers over the last 21 months and truly appreciates their continued service and ongoing commitment. This experience is another demonstration of the instrumental impact that healthcare workers can make on a daily basis in caring for their communities and role they will continue to play as we work to build a better healthcare system.” 

MGH recognizes that healthcare, in particular, is a high-stress environment where people are required to care for others at a risk of personal burnout. Over the past several years, MGH has proactively developed several mental health and wellness initiatives to support employees and physicians, including being recognized nationally as an early adopter and industry leader for the new standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).

MGH is dedicated to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace culture where individuals are treated with respect and feel a sense of belonging. Through the guidance of the hospital’s Inclusion Alliance, MGH continues to advance Anti-Racism within the community through education and storytelling.

Learn more about nursing recruitment at MGH.

Media contact
Erica Di Maio
Manager, Corporate Communications, Michael Garron Hospital
@email; Mobile: 437-993-8419 

About Michael Garron Hospital
Nestled in the heart of East Toronto, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) is a vibrant community teaching hospital serving more than 400,000 people in 22 distinct neighbourhoods. For more than 90 years, MGH has delivered high-quality, patient-centred healthcare services to families along the continuum of care, from welcoming a new life to facing end-of-life. MGH is a full-service hospital with strong community and research partners, including the University of Toronto. MGH is a proud member of East Toronto Health Partners, the Ontario Health Team serving East Toronto.

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