Category Archives: Events

Nursing Day at the Legislature: Reflections from an RN and a Nursing Student, by Lisa Constable, RN and Jennifer Kanai

Reflections of an RN

As a Registered Nurse practicing for almost 30 years Nursing Day at the Legislature on May 13th 2015 was a personal and professional highlight of my career. I have always prided myself in being someone who steps beyond their own practice setting, diving into less familiar worlds. As a nurse interacting with patients/families for most of my career I have come face-to-face with issues associated with patient safety and satisfaction, access to services, clinical outcomes and health disparities. I have seen when and how the health care system is effective, or not, in meeting the needs of the public. So here I was spending a day in the legislature arena, eager to share my years of experience and motivated to find an opportunity to bring about change to the healthcare system itself by meeting with politicians in Victoria.

Legislature Day began with a discussion on nursing unity, followed by an open forum with Ministry of Health leadership. We then sat in the Legislature gallery for Question Period, which proved to be a thought provoking experience observing the democratic process and hearing member statements and greetings read by MLAs in celebration of Nursing. Afterwards, the five nursing associations hosted a well-attended open house for all MLAs and their leadership staff in the Legislature lounge. A frank discussion with the opposition’s health critic concluded the day.

The fifty nurse leaders present were articulate in their thoughts, clear in their intentions and passionate about the health of British Columbians. I walked away invigorated, empowered and energized to do more in the legislature arena. I felt we were heard by the MLAs who showed keen interest in what we had to say and the solutions we shared. I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my nursing colleague leaders and even prouder to share this day with Jennifer Kanai who is the future of nursing and health care legislature advocacy.

Jennifer Kanai is an inspirational second year nursing student at Victoria’s Camosun College and my niece. I watched in pride as she confidently joined in and spoke to the different MLAs discussing issues and articulating her position. I believe by us sharing this day together Jennifer will have the potential to become a confident advocate; be comfortable with and have the capacity to politically influence health and health care throughout her career. I look forward to seeing her influence and change policy, laws and regulations that govern the larger health care system. Jennifer is my niece but even more importantly to all is Jennifer is the future of health care and in my eyes the future looks more than promising.

Reflections of a Nursing Student

When I first went to the Nursing Day at the Legislature, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I knew that there were five associations of nursing that would be present. It was a bit overwhelming to be a second year nursing student at the age of 21 in a large room with all of these very successful and amazing nurses; all who were incredible friendly, knowledgeable, and encouraging.

The part that stuck with me the most from this experience was going to the legislature building and having the MLAs come into the room with the nurses and having a discussion about health in the areas that they represent. They asked the nurses what their concerns were and if they had solutions. This was so incredible to watch because these MLA members were asking the nurses for advice and for their opinions; they recognized that nurses have a huge role in health care and are on the front line. By the end of the night I realized how amazing it was to have all five of the nursing associations working together and giving a strong voice to nurses. I understand that this is something that has just recently started, but it was so exciting to see this nursing coalition advocate for the health of the public.

As a student I found this to be an amazing and empowering experience. It made me more proud of my decision to go into nursing, and it may have sparked an interest for further down the road. It was great to see this other side of nursing in action, and the combination of politics and nursing together. I was very surprised that there were not more students there. I think that this is an experience that other students would benefit from; these nurses at the legislature day were working for change for the future of nursing and health care, and we students are the future of nursing. It really emphasized the impact that nurses have.

I went to the Nursing Day at the Legislature with my aunt. I am so thankful that she extended the invitation to me and encouraged me to come along with her. My aunt has had such an amazing influence, and has been an incredible role model for me. It was great to see her involved in all of these discussions and to hear her thoughts on the future of nursing.

Lisa, Jennifer and ARNBC President Julie Fraser speak with an MLA

Lisa, Jennifer and ARNBC President Julie Fraser speak with an MLA


Nursing Day at the Legislature occurs each year during nursing week, and is an opportunity for the all members of the nursing family – licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses – to connect and network with one another, meet with MLAs and experience the B.C. political system in action. Our thanks to Lisa and Jennifer for sharing their reflections on this day – we hope others will share their reflections in the comments section and we look forward to an even bigger and better event next year.

Legacy of National Nursing Leadership continues at the Canadian Nurses Association AGM, by Julie Fraser, RN, MN

Your voice is our strength.

You may have heard this statement used by ARNBC many times over the last four years. I saw this statement come to life with the nurses that attended the June 2014 Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) Annual General meeting.

Annual general meetings (AGM) for any organization are often considered required, routine, and unremarkable. The CNA AGM held in Winnipeg on June 16th was different. The stakes were high for the profession of nursing in Canada as an omnibus motion on new bylaws for CNA was brought forward for discussion and decision.  These new CNA bylaws are necessary to ensure compliance with changes made to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act – without them, our National Association could not legally continue to operate.

In the six months leading up to the AGM, many B.C. nurses were actively involved in the preparation and discussion of the new bylaws and governance structure of CNA. A full voting delegation of 38 B.C. nurses* participated in a “Special meeting of Members” in January. This virtual electronic meeting allowed for a nation-wide discussion and decision on the voting rights and membership classes of CNA. The decisions at this meeting resulted in a more equitable voting structure for all the provinces, territories and other classes of members as well as the introduction of students, retired nurses, and independent nurses as voting members.

CNAVDOf the 500 nurses who attended the CNA AGM, there were 14 B.C. nurses**. The delegation included a variety of nurses – some new to ARNBC and CNA activities and some with experience, ARNBC network leads and current and past board directors and a union board member. They brought perspectives from clinical practice, education, administration, and research.  This dynamic group connected with other B.C. nurses attending the convention and had a preparatory discussion the day before the AGM to understand the motions and resolutions and to meet the candidates for CNA President Elect.

B.C. nurses continued the legacy of national nursing leadership at the AGM through their powerful and thoughtful comments to the AGM assembly, the moving and seconding of motions, and their commitment as a voting delegate. The outcomes of the June 2014 CNA AGM were:

  • Compliance of the CNA bylaws with the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act and ability for CNA to file for continuance.
  • Passing of resolutions which articulated the need to address racism and discrimination and improve the equity and access to health care for Aboriginal people; as well as a commitment to ensure that Aboriginal histories and cultural safety competencies are represented in nursing programs, exams, and program review processes.
  • Election of the new CNA President Elect Barb Shellian
  • Visit to review CNA’s summary of the AGM.

Of special note, two B.C. student nurses attended the CNA Board meeting and AGM as part of the ARNBC Student mentorship experience. They were two of only four students who attended the meeting and the convention.

Perhaps the most impactful part of trip was my attendance at the CNA board meeting.  Not only did I get a glimpse of the inner workings of a national organization, but I saw excellent leadership in action, learning and observing the importance of accessibility, humility, communication, and confidence.  This experience helped build a meaningful connection to my future professional organization.  I left inspired and excited  with new knowledge, skills, and networks that will likely change the course of my future.  — Melissa Leveque

CNAAGMStudentsI have endless memorable moments from the CNA convention, including not only the powerful keynote speakers, the productivity of the board meetings and AGM, but also the informal connections and conversations that occurred throughout. Some things cannot be taught in a classroom and belonging to an association of nurses, with all of its limitless potential, is certainly one of those things. The aspect that made the greatest impact on me was the opportunity to meet some extraordinary nurse leaders and being inspired to join them on their path of advocacy and action.  — Julia Hensler

Their reflections on both meetings were insightful, and will be pivotal in helping ARNBC further define our student engagement strategies.

The theme for the biennium convention was – explore, reflect, design, act.  The convention went beyond a networking event – I witnessed the confidence boosting of nurses at the leadership forum, the validation of expert practice with the release of the pan Canadian CNS competencies, the recognition of nurses’ lifetime contributions with the awards of excellence – to name just a few of the impactful experiences. Most importantly, I heard nurses across the country discuss important national health issues and identify solutions – access to essential pharmaceuticals, improved equity and access to health care for Aboriginal people, protection of the blood supply, and support for our publicly-funded health care system.  Dr. Karima Velji in her Presidential address committed to unleashing the power of the registered nurse and focusing the action of the CNA on priority health issues.

I look forward to seeing the contributions B.C. nurses will make to these issues and the further strengthening of our national association.

Your voice TRULY is our strength.  

*  Jan 2014 delegation:
Berlanda, Christina
Burton, Pamela
Canitz, Brenda
Davidson, Christine
Duncan, Susan
Finley, Jo-Anne
Fiore, Pasquale
Fraser, Julie
Fong, Maylene
Fort, Johanne
Gauthier, Margaret
Guy, Shelley
Harrison, Scott
Isaac, Stacey
Ilczaszyn, Liz
Kensall, Sherri
Lennox, Janine
Maclaren, Joanne
Marchuk, Stan
Martin, Cat
Mason, Shawn
Matheson-Parkhill, Jennifer
McLeod, Bonnie
Mok, Keilee
Nicholson, Donna
Rampersaud, Patricia
Reimer-Kent, Jocelyn
Robertson, Trudy
Rodney, Patricia
Semeniuk, Pat
Starck, Andrea
Stam, Andrew Robert
Tatlock, Rubyna
Thorne, Sally
Trask, Michelle
von Tettenborn, Linda

** June 2014 delegation:
Burton, Pam
Dick, Tania
Duncan, Susan
Eng, Michelle
Fiore, Pasquale
Fong, Maylene
Fraser, Julie
Kerrivan, Melina
Maclaren, Joanne
Reimer-Kent, Jocelyn
Salamat, Karen
Sanders, Tanya
Sorensen, Christine
Thorne, Sally


JulieJulie Fraser is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the area of Home Care. She has been a registered nurse for more than 15 years and has practiced in a number of different settings from residential care to acute medical and surgical care units, before focusing on community nursing, working in both clinical and educator roles.

Advocacy and Unity in Action, by Pam Burton, RN

May 12, 2014 was a memorable day for nursing in British Columbia. For the first time in history, a group of 20 nurses travelled to the Legislature to launch nursing week. This was a celebratory event, bringing the family of nursing together to share our stories, and demonstrating our desire to work together with government and each other in a collaborative manner.

Our group represented the whole nursing family – four licensed practical nurses (LPNs), five nurse practitioners (NPs), seven registered nurses (RNs) and four registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs).

The day began with all 20 nurses meeting at the Empress and sharing our hopes for the day. We quickly realized we had many similarities, in addition to a desire to continue to build positive relationships with one another and with government representatives over the course of the day.

Next, two roundtables discussions occurred simultaneously. A group of eight met with B.C. Minister of Health Terry Lake, Associate Deputy Ministers Lynn Stevenson and Elaine McKnight, and Acting Assistant Deputy Minister Ted Patterson. The remaining fourteen interacted with senior Ministry staff including Kevin Brown, Acting Executive Director of Health Workforce Planning, Debbie McLachlan, a Registered Nurse and Director in Health Workforce Planning and Evan Howatson, Director of Labour Relations and Negotiations. Both roundtables provided opportunities for all of the participants to raise issues that are important to nurses, the nursing community and clients. Discussion was engaging and lively, and we appreciated the opportunity to hear each other’s perspectives, and that of the government, on a wide range of important topics.

Two general themes emerged. Firstly, there is a need for greater client-centred, multidisciplinary and interprofessional approaches to healthcare. Secondly, the government and nurses are both in agreement that collaboration and ongoing dialogue between the nursing family and government is welcomed and needed.

Following a meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with Minister Lake in the Legislature Rotunda, all 20 nurses spent an engaging and interactive hour with Opposition Health Critic, Judy Darcy. We discussed important issues such as Aboriginal nursing challenges, the impact of the closure of primary health care clinics on clients, struggles nurse practitioners are facing as they integrate into the healthcare system, cuts in mental health which impact registered psychiatric nurses, and the pressure staff mix models are having on both licensed practical nurses and registered nurses.

Following our meeting with Ms. Darcy, we were honoured to be invited to meet with Independent MLA Andrew Weaver. We had rich dialogue about the role of nursing in healthcare, staff mix, and the need for consultation with B.C. nurses.

Our final event of the day was to attend the afternoon session where we sat in the public gallery to hear greetings from Minister Terry Lake and Judy Darcy. This was followed by two private member statements celebrating nurses, nursing and the launch of nursing week. I felt great pride in our profession during the member statements, and felt so privileged to be present and hear the acknowledgement given to our profession.

This day was packed from start to finish. Not only did we advocate to the highest levels of government on behalf of the four nursing groups in British Columbia, we appreciated the unique opportunity to spend time with our nursing colleagues. The unity and relationships that were created were an important and meaningful part of the day and we have vowed to continue the dialogue as we work together to achieve a common goal – demonstrating that we can come together, be collaborative and speak with one voice about many important issues.

We would like to thank Minister Lake, Judy Darcy and Andrew Weaver for sharing their valuable time with us and committing to ongoing discussion and dialogue between the nursing profession and government. Thanks also to the Ministry staff – Lynn, Elaine, Ted, Kevin, Debbie and Evan, who shared their thoughts and plans, listened to our ideas, and demonstrated a willingness to work more closely together in the future. Our thanks as well to the terrific staff who work with the Minister, Judy Darcy and Andrew Weaver for your willingness to help us plan our day. We look forward to working with all of you in the future as we continue to share the expertise, knowledge and recommendations of all of nursing with government and decision-makers.

Click here to view comments made in the Legislature

Click here to view the Summary Notes

Click here to view the picture gallery

Click here to view the proclamation


PAM Passionate and committed to the profession of nursing, Pam has a keen interest in how the professional voice of nursing shapes the nursing profession, health policy and health care. Pam was involved in the former Comox Valley RNABC Chapter, attending several AGMs as a voting delegate. Pam has over a decade of experience as a RNABC Workplace Representative/CRNBC Professional Support Program Rep and has 28 years of RN practice including bedside nursing in acute and residential care. She currently works as a Nurse Educator and sits on the ARNBC Board as a Director at Large.

Flu Shots, Still the Healthy Choice, by Julie Fraser RN

Earlier today, ARNBC participated in the Ministry of Health’s launch of the Annual Provincial Flu Campaign and hope this event will remind all British Columbians to get an annual flu shot.  It’s certainly a great reminder to health professionals that we too need to protect ourselves from influenza.

On October 24, 2013, an arbitrator dismissed the grievance brought by the B.C. Health Sciences Association (HSA) against the B.C. government policy requiring healthcare workers to get a flu shot or wear a mask while caring for patients during flu season.  The arbitrator wrote that, “given the seriousness of influenza, a program that increases immunization rates in the healthcare setting is a reasonable policy.”

ARNBC discussed this policy at length when it was first introduced last year.   We are proud to have been one of the first organizations in British Columbia to recognize that the Ministry’s Flu Policy would protect the health of healthcare providers and patients across the province.

Last year we received many comments to our blogpost, Flu Shots, the Healthy Choice from nurses both for and against mandatory flu shots. That’s one of the advantages of a forum such as this – it allows nurses to share their thoughts and feelings with each another and with our professional association.

Now that the legal discussion of the policy has concluded, nurses have an opportunity to focus on working together to educate individuals and communities about the possible ramifications of a serious influenza outbreak.

(L-R) Geraldine Vance, CEO of BC Pharmacy Association, Registered Nurse, Nubia Martens; VCH Medical Health Officer (and emcee) Dr. Meena Dawar, Minister Lake, VCH Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Patty Daly, Dr. Perry Kendall, President of Association of Registered Nurses of BC Julie Foster, President of BC Pharmacy Association Don Cocar.

(L-R) Geraldine Vance, CEO of BC Pharmacy Association, Registered Nurse, Nubia Martens; VCH Medical Health Officer (and emcee) Dr. Meena Dawar, Minister Lake, VCH Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Patty Daly, Dr. Perry Kendall, President of Association of Registered Nurses of BC Julie Foster, President of BC Pharmacy Association Don Cocar.

Most nurses choose to get a flu shot, simply because we’ve seen what can happen to a healthy person with the flu, never mind someone who is vulnerable.  None of us like to be sick.  And we feel even worse knowing we’ve passed something on to our family, friends and colleagues.   I have talked to many nurses who feel a great deal of personal responsibility. We are fortunate to have some excellent discussion and resource documents published by all three B.C. nursing organizations on the topic of flu shots, including ARNBC’s Statement on the B.C. Flu Policy, the CRNBC’s Practice Standard and the BCNU’s Overview.  The CNA has published a Position Statement and partnered with Immunize Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada on the 2013-2014 Flu Campaign, which includes resources and recommendations for nurses and others.  All of these documents support yearly flu shots, although most of us were already making that choice, or at the very least intending to make that choice, long before this new policy came about. Others are more than happy to wear a protective mask when working with patients.

But debate about shots vs. no shots aside, as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the community setting, one of my responsibilities is to educate myself, and the home care nurses I work with about the potential consequences of the flu and talk to them about the big and small things everyone can do to reduce their likelihood of getting sick.  Some of these things are covered regularly by public health with hand-washing campaigns, posters and regular reminders to stay home if you are feeling ill.

These are small things, but they could make a world of difference, and nurses have the knowledge and experience to think outside the box when it comes to solutions such as these.  What are some other practical ways that we can talk to our families and our communities about preventing flu?  While the healthcare organizations move ahead with campaigns and posters and education sessions in our schools, what are the small tips and tricks you have learned and can share with others about preventing flu?  What suggestions could we make that the average consumer might not consider (like those nasty grocery cart handles), but make sense to us as nurses who see the impact of flu every day

Click here to view the government news release from today’s Flu Campaign Launch

Click here to view our photo gallery of the event

Click here to watch footage of the event

To find the nearest flu shot clinic call HealthLink BC at 811 or go to


Julie Fraser, RN, is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the area of Home Care. She has been a registered nurse for more than 15 years and has practiced in a number of different settings from residential care to acute medical and surgical care units, before focusing on community nursing, working in both clinical and educator roles.




Reflections on the Canadian Nurses Association 2013 Annual General Meeting, by Julie Fraser RN

As the days drew closer to the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, the anticipation was palpable.  The annual meeting is a signature event where Registered Nurse representatives from across the country come together to discuss and make important decisions on historic policy and advocacy issues for Canadian Nursing.

The B.C. delegation had prepared for the discussion through readings, tele–briefings, CNA webcasts, and engaging in a caucus on the morning before the AGM began.

The BC delegation included (from left): Jagbir Kohli, ARNBC Network Lead; Sally Thorne, ARNBC Board Member; Diane Clements, RN; Paddy Rodney, ARNBC Board Member; Julie Fraser, ARNBC President-Elect and new CNA Board Member; Shawn Mason, President-Elect of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Critical Care Nurses Association, Jocelyn Reimer-Kent, CNA Board Member and Jennifer Matheson-Parkhill, ARNBC Board Member.

The BC delegation included (from left): Jagbir Kohli, ARNBC Network Lead; Sally Thorne, ARNBC Board Member; Diane Clements, RN; Paddy Rodney, ARNBC Board Member; Julie Fraser, ARNBC President-Elect and new CNA Board Member; Shawn Mason, President-Elect of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Critical Care Nurses Association, Jocelyn Reimer-Kent, CNA Board Member and Jennifer Matheson-Parkhill, ARNBC Board Member.

There were big ticket items on the 2013 AGM agenda – CNA governance structure, letters patent and bylaws related to members, electronic voting, and the role of jurisdictional advisors. Dr. Barb Mildon, CNA President, began the AGM by identifying the examples of how CNA strives to be effective, efficient and relevant. Rachel Bard, CNA CEO, followed and described examples of how CNA exemplifies its advocacy mandate. The financial report showed a positive outlook and the motion to accept the report was carried.

Changes to the CNA governance structure were among the first four areas of voting provided.  Theywere described as “bones” to build further governance details over the next year that will ensurecompliance with the new federal Not-for-Profit Act as well as to innovate based on best practices. Admittedly, these discussions were complex as the assembly analyzed different models “in the movement”. Discussion during the meeting revealed tensions around suggested changes to member weighted votes and inclusion of RPNs and LPNs.  B.C. nurses were in the thick of the discussion, speaking at the microphone, moving motions, asking probing questions and articulating the beliefs that best represent nursing in our province.  Ultimately, it was decided that the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association, as well as retired and independent nurses should be included. The CNA board and the governance committee will consider the impact of the “will of the members” on future governance models and bylaws. Jurisdictions will continue to have an opportunity to engage in new model development and voting details.

Unfortunately the resolutions submitted from across the country were not discussed due to time constraints and therefore were tabled to the Board for consideration and action. Rachel Bard briefly described the actions undertaken to move forward with the recommendations from the National Expert Commission. Dr. Barb Mildon encouraged nurses to join the AGM event next year in Manitoba for the Biennium to help the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (CRNM) celebrate its 100 year anniversary. B.C. nurses can relate to the special significance of this anniversary as CRNM works with the government to enact their new health professions act legislation.

Reflecting on this full day there are a few themes that come to mind: a strengthened belief in the critical importance of dialogue on nursing issues; a thankfulness in the courage of the nurses (and student nurses) across the country who articulate their beliefs, knowledge and actions; an awareness that innovation is necessary to catapult the profession and our nursing support structures into the 21st century; and a validation of the importance of vision and mission of ARNBC.

It was a privilege to be part of the event and to engage with the nurses from B.C. in this experience.  I look forward to representing ARNBC on the CNA Board over the next two years.


Julie Fraser, RN, is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the area of Home Care. She has been a registered nurse for more than 15 years and has practiced in a number of different settings from residential care to acute medical and surgical care units, before focusing on community nursing, working in both clinical and educator roles.

National Nursing Week 2013 – Nursing: A Leading Force for Change

ARNBC is pleased to extend our warmest greetings to all nurses in B.C. and across the country as we celebrate the achievements of our profession during National Nursing Week 2013.  This year’s theme, Nursing: A Leading Force for Change, reminds us that when nurses work together to provide innovative solutions, we can dramatically improve the quality of health care locally, provincially and nationally.

ARNBC has been working hard to raise the voice of nursing with government and partners in B.C. and across Canada.  We have met with the Minister of Health and other key government leaders to share our ideas about how to strengthen primary care services in B.C., increase collaboration between health professions and reform some of the tools we need and use on a regular basis such as best practice guidelines.  We look forward to continuing to bring the voice of B.C. nurses forward at policy tables and with stakeholders in the months and years to come.

To assist nurses in speaking up for health and health care during the provincial election campaign, ARNBC has compiled resources for nurses to use during the campaign. As part of this innovative Online Toolkit, we have added new Issues Notes on Rural Health and Mental Health with background information and sample questions to pose to candidates during All Candidates’ Meetings in your communities.

As your professional association, ARNBC has been engaged in exciting initiatives during the past few months. We were pleased to collaborate with the BC Nurse Practitioner Association and the Licensed Practical Nurses Association of B.C. to propose significant changes to primary care through the development of an interprofessional council of health professions to oversee these needed changes.  Recently ARNBC, BCNU and CRNBC developed a joint statement on the need for a Provincial Nursing Plan. We are revitalizing a network of professional practice groups in the province and providing opportunities for local groups of nurses and others to link and network together through our new Network Leads Project.  We continue to work with the Canadian Nurses Association to strengthen the voice of nursing in Canada, and were proud to co-lead their Nurse Practitioner campaign in B.C. in 2012 and to bring a B.C. nursing perspective to the CNA Board of Directors.

On June 26, 2013, we will be holding our second Annual General Meeting at the Paetzold Auditorium at Vancouver General Hospital.  All B.C. registered nurses, as well as students and retired RNs, are welcome to attend.  And if you can’t be in Vancouver on June 26, rest assured that we will make sure you can participate via webcast.  We look forward to seeing many of you there.  To register for the AGM, and to sign up to vote in the Board election, please visit our AGM Page where you will find registration forms and a call for nominations for four Board positions.

Our social media platforms continue to thrive.  We are always interested in hearing from nurses who have a passion and want to share their opinion on a current public policy or advocacy issue by writing a post for our blog.  Feel free to comment here to tell us what you and your colleagues are doing for Nursing Week and how you’ve been involved in raising health issues during the provincial election campaign.

It is a busy time for the nursing profession in British Columbia, and we are proud to be raising our collective voice in support of important changes to our healthcare system.  We are continuously reminded of how insightful, knowledgeable and passionate nurses are about providing quality, patient-centred health care.  You do an amazing job, each and every day, and we are so proud to support you in all of your efforts as a leading force for change.

Happy Nursing Week 2013!


The Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC) is a professional organization that provides a unified voice for registered nurses and nurse practitioners in the development of health, nursing and public policy that advances the health of British Columbians.

We welcome comments on this or any other blogpost!

Have you lost the plot? How we are writing the next chapter, by Callan Lansdowne, Leah Peters-Michaud & Trish Sanvido

On December 5th, 2012, student’s and nurses from the Comox Valley gathered together to discuss re-establishing a local ARNBC chapter. The meeting was full of enthusiasm and energy as members shared a sense of excitement to be reconnecting with each other and strengthening the professional presence of nursing in the region.

The group was comprised of students, retired, and practicing nurses from a variety of agencies in the community. Many of the attendees were previous chapter members with RNABC and shared what they most valued previously, the feelings of loss and disconnect since its dissolution, and their visions for moving forward as a group. Themes that emerged from the meeting included: providing an outlet for professional advocacy, seeking a connection with professionalism, mentorship amongst nurses outside of the workplace, educational opportunities, having a connection with larger nursing associations, and the opportunity to have fun and socialize with other nurses.

Communities across B.C. have experienced numerous challenges when trying to connect with nurses due to a lack of accessibility regarding contact information. Our group was faced with a similar challenge and we took a grassroots approach to connecting with nurses, beginning with personal contacts and previous Registered Nurses Association of BC chapter members. We found that there was a large knowledge gap about the past history and different roles of the nursing organizations. With this in mind we recognized the need for a professional and political voice and we believe ARNBC will fill the current void. We were able to devote time and resources through our undergraduate leadership course in the efforts of promoting the association, hosting scholarly events, and exploring the initiation of a local ARNBC chapter.

Suggestions for connecting with nurses in your area:

  • Social media challenge. We found this to be an effective way of having people engage with ARNBC. Within three weeks, ¾ of the nursing student body at the local college had “liked” the ARNBC page on Facebook, and the prize was only a baked good delivery to the winning class.
  • Sharing information packages through hardcopy and an email chain letter. We included the ARNBC documents: FAQ, timeline, and changing regulatory framework.
  • Brief presentations at community nursing agencies.
  • Media releases through local newspaper, radio, and hospital newsletter.
  • The local college hosted a scholarly night where ARNBC president-elect Julie Fraser and projects-manager Nora Whyte were the guest speakers.
  • Poster advertisements around hospital and community agencies.
  • Local MLAs visited our classroom and we promoted the local ARNBC group to these political leaders.

Although our academic semester is over, our role in connecting nurses with ARNBC will be ongoing. Our challenge for nurses across the province is to rebuild and strengthen networks in their own communities and then join with ARNBC to project our professional voice at a provincial and national level.


Comox Valley student nurses meet with ARNBC President Elect Julie Fraser. From left, Callan Lansdowne, Trish Sanvido, Julie Fraser, Leah Peters-Michaud.


Callan Lansdowne is currently completing her baccaleureate degree of nursing at North Island College. She resides in the Alberni Valley but continues to stay involved in the Comox Valley ARNBC chapter as it offers an outlet to stay connected with other nurses and the opportunity to create lively discussion about issues affecting nursing. Callan has enjoyed the variety and opportunities that nursing offers and is excited about her upcoming career where she intends to pursue critical care nursing.

Leah Peters-Michaud is currently completing her final year in the registered nursing baccalaureate program at North Island College. Strengthening and being a part of the collective nursing voice is what inspired and motivated Leah and her colleagues to form a local chapter in the Comox Valley. Her passion for nursing leadership, advocacy and social justice will help guide her practice as she begins a promising career in public health and aboriginal health nursing.

Trish Sanvido is a fourth year North Island College nursing student . She has enjoyed her practice experiences in acute and home and community care and looks forward to furthering her nursing career in acute care settings. She is dedicated to advocating for excellence in stroke care and looks forward to furthering her education in critical care nursing.


Improving the Healthcare System: Dialogues, Reflections, Inspirations and Worries, by Doris Grinspun RN PhD

In November 2002, Roy Romanow issued his report Building on Values: The Future of Health Care in Canada which strongly supported Canada’s publicly administered and financed universal healthcare system, with its cornerstone being Medicare. The Commission came squarely against privatization of healthcare, stating that there was no evidence in support of such a move, and it was not congruent with the values of Canadians as expressed throughout the robust consultative process that informed the report.

Doris Grinspun, CEO of RNAO consulting with ARNBC President Susan Duncan and President-Elect Julie Fraser on strategies to ensure the future of core nursing values in Canadian health care.

The Commission supported the current inter-governmental approach to health policy and funding, and did not recommend designating health care as either a strictly federal or provincial/territorial responsibility.

The Commission did recommend significant and comprehensive reforms including improving public administration of the system; making health care policy and delivery more responsive and accountable to Canadians; improving health care access and quality; and, ensuring the system’s financial stability. It also recommended targeted funding to five priority areas: Rural and remote fund to improve access, diagnostic services fund to improve wait times, primary health care transfer to accelerate interprofessional care and move from pilot projects to whole system change, home care transfer to serve as the foundation for a national home care program, and catastrophic drug transfer to expand coverage and diminish financial burden.

Much has improved since the Romanow Report:

  • Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and the Provincial Premiers and Territorial Leaders signed the 2003 Health Accord, an historic agreement with an action plan for change to renew and sustain public health care for Canadians.
  • Federal funding was substantively increased.
  • The Health Council of Canada was created to report regularly to Canadians on the quality of their health-care system.
  • Primary Care has advanced greatly in most Canadian jurisdictions with many focusing on interprofessional teams. Yet, in comparison to other OECD countries we lag behind.
  • Wait times for diagnostic tests and various clinical procedures such as cataracts, hip and knee replacements were targeted and improved.
  • Universal programs for palliative care were introduced at the community level, and catastrophic drug coverage was launched in selected jurisdictions.

Looking back and looking forward gives me reasons for optimism and reasons for being worried – as much has changed since 2002 and today we have a federal government that has a different view of Federalism and interprets healthcare as a jurisdictional responsibility. Nurses should, and most are, alarmed with the Federal Government attack on Social and Environmental Programs, which is often accompanied with a hands-off approach to national programs and standards, such as the Prime Minister’s refusal to participate in negotiations around renewal of the Health Accord that is due to expire in 2014. By decreasing funding after 2017, the government’s hands-off approach threatens to undermine the publicly-funded, not-for-profit healthcare system that Canadians treasure, and foster the growth of for-profit health care that will cost taxpayers more and deliver less.

Recognizing this, the community of practice for health services and policy research in Canada, CAHSPR and the Health Council of Canada, organized an invitational Forum on November 9th entitled Ten Years Since the Romanow Report: Retrospect … and Prospect.  The forum brought health policy experts from across Canada together to look back on the issues that gave rise to the report and look forward to the challenges that remain.  I was among those at the forum raising probing questions about current federal threats to the core Canadian values associated with a publicly funded and not-for profit health care system and the silencing of civil society.

On November 15 and 16, 2012, I had the great pleasure of two days of lively dialogue with the Board of Directors of the ARNBC. Clearly, for ARNBC, this forum represents one of the most important conversations Canadians have had on the future of our publicly funded health care system. I am committed to ongoing close collaboration with BC’s professional association and others, to ensure that the expertise and knowledge that nurses bring to the table is recognized and integrated into health system planning and delivery across our country.

To view the proceedings and participate in the ongoing discussion, visit


Doris Grinspun is the Chief Executive Officer of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), the professional association representing registered nurses in the province of Ontario. RNAO’s mandate is to advocate for healthy public policy and for the role of registered nurses. Grinspun assumed this position in April 1996.  From 1990 to 1996, Grinspun served as Director of Nursing at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. She has also worked in practice and administrative capacities in Israel and the United States.

Grinspun is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto; an adjunct professor at the School of Nursing, York University; an associate member of the Centre for Health Promotion at the University of Toronto; an affiliate member of the Centre for Health Studies at York University; and an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CERLAC) at York University.  In 2003, Grinspun was invested with the Order of Ontario. The award was created in 1986 by the Government of Ontario to recognize the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field.

President’s Update: BC Nurses host Canadian nurses and take an active role in CNA Biennium, by Susan Duncan RN

It is my privilege and pride to write my first blogpost as ARNBC President.  I hope all B.C. nurses have heard the strong praise and congratulations that have been received from nurses across Canada for our co-hosting of the 2012 CNA Biennium Convention.  The Convention was  an enormous success and an appropriate place to recognize and celebrate 100 years of our professional nursing association in B.C. We shared a sense of history and continuity as ARNBC proudly continues the tradition of providing a nursing association in B.C.

B.C. nurses were also congratulated for having the largest showing of delegates at the CNA AGM. In total, 38 B.C. nurses maintained an active and dynamic presence at the microphone, presenting and debating motions related to nursing’s policy voice, Aboriginal nursing leadership, and the need for ongoing vigilance and action related to the change in the nursing exam. The leadership of these 38 BC nurse delegates was recognized and applauded by Canadian nurses at several points over the course of the Biennium.

Incoming 45th CNA President Dr. Barbara Mildon, in her presidential address, remarked that B.C.’s showing of “38 of 38 was nursing democracy in action!” ARNBC extends sincere appreciation to all 38 delegates and we are resolved to find ways to ensure that active participation of B.C. nurses in the professional association is realized – provincially, nationally and internationally. Many of the delegates commented on how they were energized and inspired by being active in the national dialogue and voting.

Other convention highlights exemplified the convention theme: Nurses Movers and Shapers. B.C. nurses were honoured by the generosity of eminent Canadian nurse Dr. Verna Huffman Splane who hosted a garden party in recognition of ARNBC and its work to re-establish a nursing association in the province, providing the opportunity for voting delegates to meet with Canadian nurses and ICN CEO David Benton. Check out pictures from this event in our Garden Party photo gallery!

Outgoing President Judith Shamian and incoming President Barbara Mildon inspired us with their messages of unity , strength and action. Nurses’ everyday contributions were shared by RNs at the convention. Dynamic keynote speakers provided perspectives on how nurses and nursing can move and shape policy and politics in the interests of health. There were social media presentations including one by ARNBC President Elect Julie Fraser, Andrea Burton and Sean Cranbury, our Monkeytree Creative communications team, with recognition from convention delegates on the achievements of ARNBC in reaching out to B.C. nurses through social media. Many of the speeches and presentations can be found on the CNA Biennium page, or view ARNBC’s onsite interviews of B.C. nurses sharing their thoughts on the Biennium and the new association.

In other news, a CNA Board of Directors meeting was held in Vancouver just prior to the convention, which engaged board members in key policy directions of importance to nurses and patients. At the board table we engaged in dialogue and deliberation with Dr. Michael Mayne, Deputy Health Minister in PEI and co-chair of the Council of Federation’s Health (COF) Innovation Working Group. We ensured that the voice and input of registered nurses was provided so as to inform the work of the COF that will be rolled out in the near future. Stay tuned for announcements expected over the summer which we will post on the ARNBC website.

A noteworthy contribution to the health of Canadians and the sustainability of our health-care system was the launch of the National Expert Commission’s final report – A nursing call to action. Carried out under the auspices of the CNA this is a truly inspiring work to be celebrated by the nurses of Canada. Next steps are now being considered and will be proposed September 2012.

Other actions taken by the CNA BOD were to approve key concepts in position statements on harm reduction and on primary health care. We also agreed to speak out publicly in support of interprofessional primary health care service delivery models that are based on global funding and fair compensation for all health professionals and to speak out and take action on political issues that are currently influencing the health of people in our country and beyond.

Over the next year, I will keep you informed and seek ways to involve you in the work of CNA and ARNBC and other members of our board will also be posting their news from time to time. Please contact us with your ideas for meaningful connections and ongoing discussions.

On behalf of all of us at ARNBC, I wish you a safe and healthy summer.


Dr. Susan Duncan is a faculty member at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. She has over 30 years of experience in nursing practice, education and leadership roles. Susan has represented nursing on regional health and hospital boards and completed a term on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing in 2011.

Oncology Nurses Flash (mob) the Country, by Jennifer Stephens RN

On April 3rd, oncology nurses across Canada took to the streets and hospital lobbies in honor of national Oncology Nursing Day (OND). First established in 2004 by the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology/ Association canadienne des infirmières en oncologie (CANO/ACIO) to complement Cancer Month, OND has grown into an event worthy of political recognition and widespread media attention. This year, eight provinces and fifteen cities issued official government proclamations recognizing oncology nurses. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canadian Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq issued letters to mark the day and  in the House of Commons, MP Greg Rickford of Kenora, Ontario rose to thank oncology nurses for their work and to call on further support for research, healthcare, and nursing education.

As exciting as these government recognitions were, they were not the most important part of the celebrations. Through the coordinated efforts of CANO/ACIO and its provincial chapters, events across the country brought direct recognition to nursing contributions. Local chapters held education days or sponsored dinners for oncology nurses. Volunteers delivered coffee, chocolates, or pastries to embattled oncology nurses working on the frontline. Stories about oncology nursing work were posted on the OND website, and several exceptional oncology nurses were honored with awards for outstanding work by their colleagues. Over one thousand viewers shared Tweets and Facebook postings in support of OND and oncology nursing.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the 2012 celebration, however, was the introduction of the OND Flash Mob. Thinking long and hard about how to garner enthusiasm among nurses, recognize the support of patients and families, and interest the public media, the national OND Committee decided to promote local Flash Mobs to be held in public spaces at noon (in all times zones) on April 3rd..  We decided on the theme song “Firework” by Katy Perry because it portrays a positive and supportive outlook. We arranged for professional choreography, made it available through our member website, and encouraged nurses, patients, friends, and family members across Canada to get practicing in anticipation of the big moment. We encouraged participants to wear costumes embracing both nursing (scrubs) and CANO/ACIO  colours (orange and burgundy). And on that day, almost twenty Flash Mobs were released on an unsuspecting public in celebration of the day. These videos taken at each of these and posted on our You Tube site capture the essence of local support for a great cause and communicate a feeling of joy and camaraderie that so often seems elusive in the modern nursing environment.

Here in Vancouver, the Flash Mob was held in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery during a cold and windy downpour. It was cheered on by an enthusiastic group of supporters (as well as food cart vendors, movie production staff that happened to be trying to film on-site, and unsuspecting passers-by). There was singing, dancing, cheers, hugs, and an incredible sense of nursing unity that I haven’t felt in quite a while. That afternoon we all loved nursing.

We all realize that nurses across the board are discouraged and desperately searching for affirmative outlets. A shifting economy and increased workload demands, coupled with changing notions of the role and responsibility of nurses, has created an environment where the only thing getting many nurses through the day is a personal sense of caring for their patients. We know that nurses need to recharge their batteries and rekindle the flame. Doing something exciting and outrageous was a tremendous way to signal that desire and to collaborate in making a statement about our desire to stay strong and committed. Oncology nurses felt blessed to have one another, and to be able to organize together within a proactive professional organization like CANO/ACIO.

My participation in this year’s OND confirmed for me the tremendous need we all have for a place where the real value — and values — of nursing are celebrated and embraced. Not only do we need and deserve to celebrate ourselves, but we also need a chance to showcase our value within public and political realms. By allowing our work to be acknowledged in public spaces – dancing together with nurses, patients, families and supports cheering us on – we brought attention to our passion for the work that we do. It is my hope that nurses in other contexts of practice find ways to come together in celebration, pride and hope, to be acknowledged in the way they too deserve.

2012 OND Government Proclamations

2012 OND House of Commons Speech by Conservative MP Greg Rickford of Kenora, Ontario

2012 OND Flash Mob Videos

2012 Vancouver OND Flash Mob Video

2012 OND Website


Jennifer Stephens, BSN, MA, RN, OCN, is an oncology nurse working at the VGH Bone & Marrow Transplant Unit. She is also a PhD student at UBC, and holds the position of Director-at-Larger for Communications as well as the national Co-Chair for the Oncology Nursing Day Committee for the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology / Association canadienne des infirmières en oncologie (CANO/ACIO). In that capacity, she coordinated the Vancouver OND 2012 Flash Mob. Jennifer wants to say thank you to all of the amazing nurses, friends, family, and supporters who came out across Canada for OND. She particularly want to thank Sharon Paulse of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) for her ongoing support of oncology nurses, her fellow OND committee chairs (Sean, Ana, Cornelie, and Corsita), her local OND Flash Mob video team (Michael, Redza, Zalifah, and Nabihan), and all of the oncology nurses who risked their dignity to showcase oncology nursing in public. She hopes that, as ARNBC evolves, all BC nurses will have opportunities to be appropriately outrageous in their passion for their profession!