I am always so thankful for the winter season. This is a sacred time, full of tradition and protocol for my family and community. I have always enjoyed witnessing and participating in other traditions and protocols throughout the winter season, learning from and inspiring one another. Although this is traditionally a time for family, holidays, and self – as nurses we often have to spend a lot of time away from our families during the season. So first of all, a big shout out to all health care staff, especially nurses, who will be away from their loved ones during the holiday season. I personally will have my family close by, but will be spending my holiday time at the bedside working, caring for and healing community members and their families. At the same time, I consider this a ‘down time’ and am planning and looking forward to the new year approaching and the busy days ahead.
As I write this, I am reflecting on how far the profession and association have come since we began the ARNBC journey in 2010, and how exciting the road ahead appears as we take additional steps to advance the profession in British Columbia. For the first time in many years, B.C. nurses are leading change that will resonate throughout Canada and give us opportunity to share our pride in the knowledge, talent and skills of the nurses who have had such a significant impact on building our province. We have laid a strong foundation through which future generations of nurses can look back and be proud of our struggles, our successes and how we managed both. I look forward to the challenges and the victories ahead with great excitement for what the profession can continue to become as we move ahead in the spirit of equity, collaboration and unity.
It is time for B.C. nurses to really consider what it means to be one nursing family, and how we might lift up every single nurse in the province, of every single designation, in a way that is meaningful and empowering. It is because of where we are in our history as a province and a profession that ARNBC has begun working towards building one strong nursing association for the province, in partnership with our colleagues who are LPNs and RPNs. I take great pride in watching all nursing designations in B.C. initiate the Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations and ensure that there is going to always be space and voice for the Indigenous nurse at all times.
I was truly honoured and inspired to represent the B.C. nursing family in Ottawa in November at my first Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) Board Meeting. This was a powerful moment that had all provinces and territories sitting in one room. I was both proud and moved to have Ontario and Quebec at the table. This was a pivotal meeting for us, and for the entire nursing family, as we grappled with the question of introducing new bylaws this spring that will allow CNA to embrace our licensed practical nurse and registered psychiatric nurse colleagues at the national level. I was proud that B.C. was helping to lead the campaign towards a more inclusive national body, and inspired at the words and thoughts of our colleagues from across the country, who voted unanimously that ‘now is the time’. Most Canadian provinces are watching B.C. closely – all of us are considering how to be more inclusive of the entire nursing family, but B.C. is on the forefront of this movement, and we are committed to moving forward in the best way possible.
Consultations on what this new organization will look like are taking place now. I hope to hear from as many of you as possible throughout this process, because it is your ideas and expertise that will result in the best possible path forward. Since 2013 we have been a proud and active member of the BC Coalition of Nursing Associations (BCCNA) and that group has already done so much to ensure that any proposed association will meet the needs of the whole of nursing while continuing to support the unique needs of individual nursing designations. While some of the conversations have been challenging, we believe we are now at a place to introduce a proposed governance structure that will respect and embrace the diversity and strengths of the nursing profession and the individual nursing designations, while honouring the principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and ensuring the patient voice remains at the centre of all we do.
Change is exciting but it can also be uncomfortable. I encourage all of you to reflect on what the future holds for us and to bring forward your thoughts and feedback at the consultations which are starting now and will continue well into the New Year. I am excited to hear from nurses across the province and look forward to working with the nurse regulators, the unions and other stakeholders, to see how we can collaborate to advance the profession and our relationship with patients.
I am extremely proud of the work that we are doing as an Association and as a member of the BCCNA. I urge every single nurse in the province to get involved. Be part of the conversation. You have the opportunity to help build a future for nursing that is unlike anything we have seen before in this province. I can’t wait to work with you as we embark on this incredible journey together. There is nothing more important to me than an empowered nurse with voice.
I send the warmest greeting to all nurses and nurse practitioners during this holiday season.
ABOUT TANIA DICK, RN
Tania Dick hails from the Dzawada’enuxw First Nations of Kingcome Inlet and has been a Registered Nurse in British Columbia for 12 years. Her entire career has been spent in rural and remote nursing, specializing in Emergency and Aboriginal health. She attained her Master of Nursing degree in the Nurse Practitioner program at UBC in 2010. She currently works full time as a general duty nurse in her Father’s rural village of Alert Bay, BC. Tania became president of ARNBC in June 2017 and has been on the ARNBC Board since 2012.