Dear CARNA Members,
In late 2019, CARNA’s Provincial Council commissioned a review of the effectiveness and efficiency of its governance practices. The goal of the review was to identify best practices in governance principles, structures and processes to update and strengthen the integrity of CARNA’s: (1) regulatory framework, (2) mandate to ensure the public interest, and (3) work to fulfill the association’s mandate.
An external governance consultant was retained by CARNA’s Provincial Council to conduct a review. A Governance Task Force was struck to oversee the review and report back to Council. The Task Force consisted of the Council President and President-elect, the former Alberta Health Advocate, two nursing leaders including a past president of the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association and the past Alberta Health Services Associate Chief Nursing Officer, the Registrar of the Ontario College of Teachers, and the CARNA CEO/Registrar. The Task Force started its work on November 2019 and completed its work at the end of September 2020, reporting to Council with its findings and recommendations.
After listening carefully to CARNA’s members and other key stakeholders, it became clear that CARNA should focus on regulating the profession and move away from acting as an association. CARNA’s Council made the landmark decision to transition to a single regulatory mandate and, at the same time, committed to the development and growth of a new nursing association.
Council also decided that CARNA would seek to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of governance for the benefit of the public, with a clear focus on the direction and control of the regulating organization. As a modern, efficient regulator, we aspire to view everything through the lens of strategy and risk. Our strategic priorities will focus on why we are here, that is, to protect the public. Our risk assessment will examine the impact of our strategies on protecting the public.
CARNA will also embrace best practices in board effectiveness by promoting open dialogue, constructive engagement, challenge, and dissent, all in the spirit of curiosity, enquiry and fiduciary duty to focus on how best to protect the public. Agendas will be focused on our key priorities and meetings will be structured by rules of order.
These important decisions have a number of key outcomes.
First, CARNA will take leadership in forming a new nursing association with a mandate to evolve the nursing profession in Alberta. CARNA has already begun the process by establishing an Association Steering Committee to develop and grow the association by recruiting interested and capable individuals to join the new association’s inaugural board.
Second, CARNA will strengthen the governance practices of Council and its key committees, enhancing CARNA’s mandate as regulator of the nursing profession. This includes articulating what “right touch” regulation looks like by explicitly linking risk of harm to patients to the levels of regulatory intervention prioritized in CARNA’s strategic plan. Council will also facilitate the development of a reporting and performance management framework that will include formal evaluations of Council, Committees, Chairs and CEO. Finally, Council agendas and meetings will be organized around the regulatory objective of protecting the public.
This is an exciting journey that CARNA has undertaken which will enhance our ability to regulate our profession, as well as establish an association which will advocate for the nursing profession in Alberta.
It is my sincere hope that you will join us on this journey and actively support both CARNA and the new association. Nursing in Alberta needs to have both a focused regulator and a dynamic association so that we as nurses, ensure public safety while at the same time, enhance and evolve our profession.
Thank you for your dedication and commitment to the health of all Albertans. You remain an inspiration not only to me, but to all members of Council.
Nicole Letourneau, PHD, RN, FCAHS, FAAN