student ambassador table
Whether using the new, personalized QR code to recruit colleagues, or volunteering as a student ambassador on campus (a sample student table is shown above), RNAO’s active and inspired members play a critical role in growing the association.
York University
Members contribute to RNAO’s growth in multiple ways

Amanda Mayock, president of RNAO’s Kawartha-Victoria chapter, was meeting with colleagues and RNAO staff at the assembly of leaders gathering in early 2023 when she shared the idea to create individualized QR codes for RNAO members. The QR codes automatically populate an application form with the existing member’s information, allowing for easy collection of recruitment rewards. 

Mayock’s suggestion, RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun says, is an example of how the seed of an idea can change the way we do things at RNAO. “You ask, we listen and act,” Grinspun says. 

The new and unique QR codes were launched in August, and are an easy way for members to recruit colleagues (a personalized referral link is also still available). Both recruitment tools can be found on member dashboards after sign-in to 

Mayock says she brought the idea forward as another option for recruitment, suggesting that members print the QR code and take copies to events for distribution to interested nurses and nursing students who are not members. It’s like a business card that allows existing members to bring others onboard and get RNAO rewards, she says. Grinspun adds: “Members can also download the QR code to their phone and present it to colleagues so they can easily scan it,” which is what Grinspun does each and every time she’s meeting with RNs, NPs and nursing students.

When these recruitment tools are used, members accumulate reward dollars that can be applied to membership renewal or registration for events immediately or at a later date. Rewards of 20 RNAO dollars for each new RN or NP member, and 5 RNAO dollars for each new internationally educated nurse (IEN) associate or undergraduate nursing student, will accumulate as more members come on board. For even more incentive, those who recruit five new RNs will get their membership the following year for free. In December, an even more enticing incentive was launched in celebration of RNAO’s upcoming 100th anniversary in 2025. 

The Win-Win campaign is offering members who recruit 100 new members by April 30, 2025, the sum of $5,000 cash toward attendance at the 2025 International Council of Nurses Congress in Helsinki, Finland from June 9 to 13 (see details online). 

Membership growth is at an all-time high for RNAO, which added more than a thousand voices in the 2022-2023 membership year to the commanding 51,650 RN, NP and nursing student voices speaking out for nursing and speaking out for health.

“As nursing and health issues – like the nursing shortage and climate emergency – become more acute and complex, the strong and growing voices of members is important to move policy and get funding for a healthy population,” says Daniel Lau, RNAO’s director of membership and services. “This is our motivation to keep increasing membership year after year.” 

“Our members provide the fuel that propels RNAO forward,” says RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway. “We count on existing members to spread the word about the benefits of membership to colleagues in their workplace and/or IENs and nursing students within their professional circles. This is how I got involved years ago and how I give back to nursing and health now. I urge everyone to get more members.” 

IENs and nursing students have been the focus of several RNAO membership campaigns in recent months. The recruitment and training of the newest cohort of RNAO student ambassadors is one example. 

“RNAO student ambassadors represent RNAO on campuses across Ontario. They are our link between the student body and RNAO home office,” says Lau. “They promote membership benefits, talk to colleagues about nursing as an inspiring career choice, and foster participation at the provincial and local levels.” They also help to promote the association’s Nursing Students of Ontario (NSO) interest group events and activities.

Since the launch of the RNAO student ambassador initiative in July 2023, more than 85 students have signed on for the role at more than 20 colleges and universities across the province, says Judy Liou, RNAO’s membership outreach co-ordinator. From Kingston to London, and Toronto to Thunder Bay, students are stepping up. At a training session in October 2023, representative from three new schools joined the discussion and learned about what to expect as the newest group of ambassadors.

Representatives from schools that have already signed on were also there, including some from Loyalist College, where 10 students (the maximum) have come together to share the responsibilities of growing membership at its three campuses in Bancroft, Port Hope and Toronto. “This is a great example of leaning on one another, and not putting the onus on only a few students to do this important work,” Liou says. 

“As much as we promote RNAO membership and events to school administrators, the more grassroots approach of students talking to students goes a long way in building a culture of RNAO membership,” concludes Grinspun, who is inspired by the collective work.  

The expectation of RNAO student ambassadors is to host a minimum of three events on campus in September, October and January/February. They are also encouraged to be active on social media, reposting RNAO’s many campaign initiatives, and making classroom announcements whenever possible.

NSO VP Mark Anthony was also at the October training, sharing news of some of the events the interest group wanted help promoting, including an October Fall Tour visit with President-Elect NP Lhamo Dolkar at Humber River Hospital and a webinar about how students can contribute to revolutionizing the health system post-COVID, featuring a keynote presentation from Ontario’s Provincial Chief Nurse Dr. Karima Velji. 

NSO, Anthony said, is reciprocating the support to student ambassadors as they embark on their new, visible role at their respective schools. He offered to attend some of the events at universities in the fall, to keep NSO and student ambassadors connected for even greater impact.

Our hopes are high and our gratitude to members is even higher.

As RNAO embarks on a new membership year, there are high hopes for even greater growth in 2024 thanks to the participation of members recruiting more members by using their new QR code, the referral link, and taking on the role of student ambassador (in the academic setting) and nurse ambassador (in the workplace). “Our hopes are high and our gratitude to members is even higher,” Holloway says proudly.


Step up and stand out

To promote membership and continue to spread the word about everything RNAO has to offer, get involved in these initiatives:

Get involved

RNAO student ambassador
Find out more about the ambassador role and other student opportunities online, or by contacting Judy Liou, membership outreach coordinator, at

Connect with your local chapter
RNAO’s 38 chapters and regions without chapters act as the voice and forum for members at the local level. The chapter chair(s) represent the group, and attend meetings with representatives from other chapters and regions without chapters. They bring ideas from their chapter members forward, and connect directly with RNAO’s board of directors. Find your chapter and get involved. 

Join an interest group
Each of RNAO’s 33 interest groups represents a unique specialty or population. Together, they illustrate the remarkable diversity of members. Interest groups offer a range of professional resources and support, both personal and sometimes financial, through bursaries and awards. You do not have to be practising in the interest group area of expertise to join a particular group. Check out the options and get involved. 

#WinWin100 recruitment reward contest

RNAO is turning 100 in 2025! To celebrate, we’re giving $5,000 cash toward attendance at the International Council of Nurses Congress in Helsinki, Finland (June 9 -13, 2025) to RNAO members who recruit 100 new members by April 30, 2025. This one-time recruitment reward contest is open to existing members from Aug. 1, 2023 to April 30, 2025. For full contest details, visit

#RNAOProud pin campaign

#RNAOProud is the social media campaign that encourages all members to tag @RNAO in photos on X (formerly Twitter) or @registerednurses on Instagram proudly wearing your RN, NP or NS nursing pin at events or visiting with fellow members. Remember to include the hashtag #RNAOProud. Generate more activity and raise awareness by retweeting RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun’s tweet announcing the campaign and the December photos she shared of others participating in the initiative.

See what other members have shared, and get more information online.

#WeAreNPs social media campaign

On Nov. 1, RNAO, in partnership with its NP Interest Group (NPIG), launched the #WeAreNPs social media campaign to highlight the immense contributions of NPs to health care and increase public awareness of how NPs want to do even more to benefit the health outcomes and wellbeing of all Ontarians. Read more in the media release, and get involved today. 

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