Category Archives: Updates

President’s Message: Looking Forward, by Zak Matieschyn, BSN, MN, RN, NP(Family)

I am honoured to write my first President’s Message to the registered nurses and nurse practitioners of British Columbia who have entrusted me to lead the Association over the next two years. I look forward to the challenge ahead with excitement at the potential that exists for the Association and nursing to make transformative changes in the healthcare system, the nursing profession and the lives of individual RNs and NPs. The nurses of British Columbia have elected a diverse and strong group of directors who will lead our board and I am thrilled to work with them as we serve the nursing profession over the coming months.

I grew up in British Columbia and have been an RN in this province since 2000, working in a variety of settings including med/surg, ICU and emergency nursing in Victoria, Vancouver, and the Kootenays. For the past six years I have worked as an NP at a primary healthcare practice in Castlegar and I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to work directly with patients at every stage of their lives and provide for their primary healthcare needs.

Although my interests are diverse, a particular passion of mine is around the social determinants of health (e.g. housing, income, education, etc). This is an area that nursing has been aware of for decades, because we know that health is so much more than the absence of disease or making good lifestyle choices. Nursing needs to be at the forefront in offering an evidence-informed opinion when it comes to developing the health and social policy that will address the social determinants. And while governmental policy that seeks to improve these health determinants should be applauded, policy that worsens the health of British Columbians by negatively affecting these factors must be constructively critiqued. I look forward to applying my passion in this area to help strengthen the nursing response in addressing social determinants that impact our families and communities.

This is an important time for nursing, and for healthcare in British Columbia. Through the policy papers issued in March of this year, the provincial government and the Ministry of Health have signaled that the next few years will bring transformative change to our healthcare system – with a focus on patient-centred, team-based care and a move to revitalize primary and community care. These are areas in which nursing and nurses have extensive knowledge and expertise. The success of this transformative policy change is greatly dependent on the involvement of nursing throughout the process. I am pleased to say that the ARNBC is specifically named in these policy papers as a consultant and contributor to this process. I encourage any RN/NP interested in being involved in this exciting work to share your thoughts with us so we can bring your voice forward to government.

Join me in strengthening the nursing profession and nursing community. There are a multitude of opportunities to be engaged with your Association, your College and your Union. Let’s demonstrate the incredible knowledge and strength that this amazing profession brings to healthcare transformation. Together we can build positive, lasting change.


ZakZak’s interest in health and healing began at the early age of nine years old when he would carry a small first aid kit while playing with friends.  Since then, his passion for healthcare and health policy has been unwavering.  He was particularly inspired by concepts of family, community and societal health, as well as the social determinants of health during his undergraduate (BSN UVic, 2000), graduate work (MN UVic, 2008), and clinical experience in urban, rural and remote B.C. communities.

Zak has served on numerous boards and committees, including the BC Nurse Practitioner Association Executive and was the first Nurse Practitioner in B.C. to be invited to sit on a Division of Family Practice Board (Kootenay Boundary, 2010 – 2014).  Through this work he has gained valuable experience in member engagement, optimizing board governance, and relationship building among diverse stakeholders.  In his clinical practice, Zak has worked med/surg, emergency, intensive care, vascular access and outpost nursing.  After obtaining his NP education in 2008, he began a practice in a West Kootenay family clinic, providing primary healthcare to the general public with a focus on marginalized populations.

Thank You for Sharing your Voice in 2013

A huge thank you to all of the bloggers and commenters who shared your opinions, thoughts, frustrations, enthusiasm, and in some cases, anger, during the course of 2013.  We’ve heard from so many nurses across B.C., telling us how much you appreciate and value this blog, and the unique opportunity it gives to engage in discussion about issues that are important to nurses and nursing.  We look forward to hearing from many more of you in 2014, and encourage all nurses to join in the discussion or consider writing a blog yourself.

Two blogposts in particular stood out for us this year.  Lori Campbell’s submission, Nursing Stereotypes:  The Good, The Bad and The Ugly focused on the controversy stirred up by the MTV reality show Scrubbing In, which caught the attention of many nurses and the public.  Lori’s approach was a bit different than most of the naysayers, in that she not only criticized the show itself, but also focused on the long history of sexism in the portrayal of nurses by popular media.  Lori asked some important questions about why this is accepted – and what needs to be done to change how our profession is viewed.

Rob Calnan’s more recent blogpost, Nursing Leaders Address the Need for Major Change in Health Policy, has certainly resonated with nurses, many of whom have felt that his comments echo their own feelings of frustration about how disjointed and fractured the profession has become in the province.   The fact that nursing leaders are taking first steps towards changing this, and are willing to come forward in a proactive and forceful way, has captured the attention of many nurses, who are desperately hoping that policy and advocacy changes will return the profession to a place of respect.

Honourable mentions this year include any and all blogposts around the flu policy/flu shot, a carry-over from our conversation from last year, and one which gave us an opportunity to participate with the Minister of Health and other officials in the launch of the 2013/2014 B.C. Flu Strategy.  Paddy Rodney provided a first look into some of the discussion ARNBC has been having with nurses around the province when it comes to the controversial and difficult topic of staff mix. In fact, all of our 2013 blog contributors deserve a special note of thanks for their courage to speak up on important issues facing the profession during the past year.

We already have a number of blogposts lined up for the New Year, but we encourage anyone who has a passion, an interest or the desire to share their voice, to contact us at and share your ideas and suggestions.  If you need help with writing, editing or honing your ideas, we’re more than happy to help.  You can check out our guest blogger guidelines here

Remember, your voice is our strength!



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!


President’s Update: Consultations Wind Up, by Susan Duncan RN PhD

Between February and May of this year, the ARNBC travelled around British Columbia and met with registered nurses in small towns, community health centres, urban areas and hospitals.  The resulting focus groups and conversations provided the Association with a wealth of information about the challenges nurses face, the pride they have in their profession and the belief we all share in the need for a strong policy voice for nursing in British Columbia.

The consultations revealed how B.C. nurses are feeling about their practice, their profession and the health care system.  In all sessions, nurses shared insights in honest and respectful conversations that point to concerns about directions in the profession and the health system along with hope that the voice of the profession can make a difference to their experience of nursing and the health and safety of the public they serve.

ARNBC is proud to share the outcomes of these consultations in the report now posted on our website ARNBC 2012 Consultations Report(  The consultations showed us what matters to nurses and gave us clear understanding of how to move forward.  As a result, the elected Board of the ARNBC has defined the following three strategic directions as our focus for this year:

  1. Build an effective and affordable professional nursing association;
  2. Develop strong influential  partnerships with government, nursing and professional organizations – provincially, nationally and internationally; and,
  3. Continue to engage nurses’ active participation in professional issues.

The formal consultations may be over for now, but we know that the best conversation and the best sharing happens when nurses sit down and talk face-to-face.  Our newly formed engagement committee will soon be launching a plan for connecting nurses and facilitating local and regional networks. We encourage RNs to continue to share their thoughts on the future of BC nursing by posting comments on this blog, joining our Facebook or Twitter conversations, emailing us at or coming to one of our events.

Many thanks to all nurses who have contributed to the ongoing dialogue about the future of the Association.  Your voice really is our strength.


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.

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.

Consultations Gain Momentum Across B.C.

We have just finished our fifth week of consultations, and have been inspired to meet with nurses across B.C.  By the time we wrap up these consultations, we will have met with nurses from every specialty in every part of the province.

One thing we have heard from nurses over and over is how much they value having an opportunity to get together and talk about the future of the nursing profession.  We are honoured and privileged to be able to help provide opportunities for nurses to do just that!

We have heard a vast range of ideas and recommendations about how nurses want the Association to develop in the coming months and years.  We have learned:

  • Most nurses believe an Association would provide a much-needed voice in advocating for the profession in policy discussions.
  • Most nurses feel that the ARNBC must work with the College and the Union to establish clear roles for each organization.
  • Most believe that the ARNBC needs to discuss the fee issue further with both the College and the CNA, to ensure the best approach is taken to supporting the Association with dollars that are already being paid by nurses.
  • Nurses across the province are facing very similar challenges: confusion around skill-mix and scope of practice; increased workload; job uncertainty for nurse practitioners; loss of specialty practice groups; lack of understanding amongst the public of the role of nursing, etc.

Please visit the Consultations Page( to review other comments and ideas that have been raised throughout this process, to view videos featuring board members, see a map and calendar for sessions near you, or review and download resource materials so you can hold your own consultation session.

One of the common questions we’ve heard has been “What can a provincial nursing association do for me?” Our response:

  1. Connect you with other registered nurses across BC
  2. Include your voice in influencing change on social and health issues
  3. Link you with national and international nursing and interprofessional      organizations
  4. Support your professional practice and advance the profession of nursing

Thank you to all of those who have participated in one of our sessions.  Your wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the nursing profession have been a pleasure to observe and share.  We look forward to meeting more of you in the next weeks and, ultimately, in pulling together all of your thoughts and ideas into the ‘marching orders’ for the new Association.  Your voices will result in a powerful, united Association advocating for the nursing profession in British Columbia.

Best wishes to all BC nurses who are working full-out to deliver exceptional and safe care to all British Columbians.  More than ever we recognize that nurses are the heart and soul of our healthcare system.

Barbara Findlay-Reece and Andrea Burton of Monkeytree Creative Inc. have been travelling the province on behalf of the ARNBC, and along with Board Members, have met with many nurses to discuss the future of the Association, the burning issues and challenges that nurses face and how to build a stronger policy voice for nurses.  By the end of April, ARNBC will have met in person, or by phone, with nurses in Castlegar, Duncan, Hazelton, Kamloops, Kelowna, Kitimat, Nelson, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Parksville, Penticton, Port Alberni, Port Hardy, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Revelstoke, Richmond, Salmon Arm, Surrey, Terrace, Vancouver, Victoria and White Rock.


Update on Activities

The ARNBC Forum page. Click on the picture to go to the page.

The ARNBC Board has been busy since the September 8th joint CNA/ARNBC meeting.  Many thanks to those who attended and contributed their thoughts and comments throughout the day, as well as in the follow-up evaluation survey.  You’ve given us a lot to consider as we move ahead with planning for the coming year.

Please feel free to view materials from the Forum on our website by visiting our Forum Page.  The page includes the overview powerpoint/speaking notes, pictures from the day, as well as Continue reading