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.
ABOUT CALLAN LANSDOWNE, LEAH PETERS-MICHAUD and TRISH SANVIDO
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.
Trish, Callan, and Leah
Thank you for taking time to write this important blog. You are all are great role models for establishing nursing networks. The energy from the ideas from the students and nurses from the Comox Valley is palpable-keep it coming!