This has been a milestone year for registered nursing, one that saw us celebrate our centennial with activities, articles and displays that highlighted the history and evolution of registered nursing in Alberta. Not surprisingly, reflecting on our past also inspired us to examine our present and look to our future.
We understand the importance of listening to what members say they need from CARNA here and now, so we can better support them in their practice. Our members told us that they want to see us influencing the health system, and they want better access to relevant educational and professional development support. This member feedback inspired significant organizational changes for CARNA this past year, including a complete overhaul of our corporate structure. While some of these changes are taking place behind the scenes, many of them will have a direct impact on members and will allow CARNA to better support and regulate the nursing profession.
Looking into the future is always a daunting task, one that is made more so by the realization that we are in the midst of unprecedented change – politically, demographically, technologically and socially. Issues such as the growing opioid crisis, the legalization of medical assistance in dying and nurse practitioner prescribing of controlled drugs and substances creates opportunities and challenges for our profession. They also remind us of the importance of continuing our advocacy efforts to ensure that the unique skills, experiences and perspectives of our members can help influence the policies and planning that will shape the future. We know that in order to be effective advocates, we need to be able to share important information with our members and invite them to share their ideas and insights.
We’ve already begun utilizing new ways to connect with our members, through social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and videos. Our Professional Practice Support team are introducing a variety of learning resources, including webinars, online learning modules and case studies that help advance nursing practice. And we’ve undertaken several online consultations on issues like flu immunization and the Uniquely RN® project that invited members to tell us what matters to them.
All of these initiatives are intended to support our dual mandate of protecting public safety, while maintaining and supporting nursing practice. These mandates hold true to the same principles that inspired registered nurses to establish a regulatory body back in 1916 and remain the core of the work we do today.
This past year saw the departure of our long-time CEO, and in July, I was named Acting CEO. I could not have managed in that role without the support of the CARNA team. Together they personify leadership, teamwork and collaboration.
Although much has changed for our profession and our province since the first meeting of the Alberta Association of Graduate Nurses in 1916, the goal of delivering expert care has not. As we look ahead to the next 100 years, that goal will continue to be the constant that guides and inspires our work and our efforts.
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Director, Corporate Services