The Nurse Innovator Award (NIA) was conceived by the RNFOO Honorary Life Members to design and build a mechanism to enable, encourage, support and celebrate nursing innovation. The initial fundraising campaign recruited 112 Founding Donors, each of whom have pledged $2,500 over five years. Nurses with new and original ideas and methods can find financial support and mentorship to create the changes they imagine. For the purposes of this award, an innovative approach is an idea that has not been tried before and one that will enhance practice, education and/or the patient experience.
Nurse Innovators applying for this award will be using creative thinking and idea development, and be willing and prepared to embark on an initiative that will advance practice, education and/or the patient experience. Nurse Innovators, turning their ideas into action, will play a key role in driving the nursing profession and health care forward, now and into the future.
In the first year RNFOO provided two awards worth $30,000 in November 2019. The 2020 NIA Winners were announced at a Reception on November 18, 2020. A total of $63,000 was shared among 3 projects. You can learn about the winning projects here. To view a summary of those projects and hear updates from the 2019 winners, click here to watch the 2020 Reception.
Applying to the NIA Fund
The information below will be helpful to those considering applying for the 2021 Awards.
Applicants for a Nurse Innovator Award must be an RN, RPN, or NP currently registered in good standing with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and living or working in Ontario. The applicant can be employed by an organization or working in independent practice. In the event of a team application, the lead professional(s) must be an RN, RPN or NP.
There is a $25 non-refundable application fee.
The Application Process
The application system opens in early spring. For those looking to apply, information about the process is provided here and through webinars offered during the application period.
There is a 2-step process for applicants:
STEP 1: Applicants must register (using the NIA Applicant login box that will be available), pay the $25 application fee, and provide all information requested through the on-line form. In addition to basic contact information, applicants must submit:
i) A letter of intent (3-page maximum) providing:
- a clear description of the innovation
- the issue, background and importance of the issue that the innovation addresses
- anticipated impact on on nursing practice, nursing education and/or the patient experience from the nursing perspective
- the stated aims, desired outcomes and planned deliverables
- target audience, plan for implementation, and timeline
- funds requested and how they will be spent
- evaluation methods and thoughts on how the innovation can be scaled and spread to others
ii) An abbreviated résumé (2-page maximum) that focuses on professional experiences, positions, education and other pertinent information that is relevant to the focus of the application.
iii) Two supporting letters from people who can attest to the value and potential of the innovation and the applicant’s ability to complete the project.
Applications must be marked complete by the posted deadline. Complete applications will be reviewed, and a short-list of candidates will proceed to the second step.
STEP 2. If short-listed, applicants will be asked to provide:
i) A self-made video. The video must be clear, compelling and brief (5-minutes maximum). It can be self-filmed on a cell phone, and must include the following descriptions:
- a clear and prominent description of the innovation
- how it proposes original ideas for addressing an important issue
- The impact; how it will make a difference to Nursing Practice, Nursing Education and/or the Patient Experience from a Nursing perspective.
- Why you think you are the person who can lead the successful innovation
- What you will do to evaluate the project, tell others about this innovation, and spread it to other places
Instructions for uploading videos will be provided.
ii) A more detailed statement of funds requested (download template).
iii) A letter from an organizational sponsor (where appropriate) who can champion the innovation, provide mentorship and/or be a contact person for receipt of funds.
iv) A webinar for applicants invited to Step 2 will be held and a recording will be made available to those who cannot attend.
Click here for some resources on how to pitch an idea.
Webinars (with Q&A sessions) about the application process were held in April and May, 2020. You can access a recording of the webinar here.
It is expected that the innovation will be carried out within twelve months of receiving funding.
Awards will be distributed at or immediately after the Reception in November.
Successful applicants will be required to provide a progress summary report (3-page maximum) six months after the commencement of the project and a final report and deliverables (5-page maximum) upon completion.
RNFOO Nurse Innovator Award funding must be acknowledged in any publications or presentations that result from the project.
The Nurse Innovator Award has mentors who are willing to help successful award winners as they implement their innovations.