The Transformation of Health Care in Canada: Raising Our Nursing Voices in B.C. by Paddy Rodney RN

It is a new year - a politically important year. As you are aware, we are drawing closer to 2014, when the federal-provincial Health Accord will be re-negotiated. This week, the Premiers of all the provinces are meeting in Victoria to discuss the future of health care in Canada.

These events remind us that now is the time to make sure nursing voices in B.C. continue to join those of our nursing colleagues across Canada. Together, we have a great deal of knowledge to contribute to discussions about how the health care system should evolve. Our input can ensure that we are able to better deliver safe, compassionate, competent and ethical care. We also have a great deal of knowledge to contribute about how to foster better health and well-being for all Canadians. For example, we have expertise in how best to provide health care in hospitals, long-term care settings and communities, and we understand how best to promote health and well-being initiatives such as support for families, safe home care for seniors, and violence prevention for all age groups.

Now is the time to listen to the media, and to recognize opportunities to have our voices heard. This point really came home to me on New Year’s Day. Thanks to an ARNBC supporter who e-mailed our office, I learned about a special CBC Radio show to be broadcast on the January 1, 2012 Cross Country Checkup. The show was hosted by Dr. Brian Goldman, who many of you will recognize as the host of the regular CBC Radio program “White Coat, Black Art”. Listening to the presenters on the show - and having a chance to call in and talk about what I am passionate about in health care - emphasized for me how important it is for nursing knowledge to be used to influence health care for Canadians.

The CNA is taking an active role in promoting the importance of nursing insights into how we can have better health and health care for Canadians. The CNA launched its first National Expert Commission in May 2011 to contribute to the transformation of health care in Canada. The Commission has been consulting across the country and developing recommendations to help shape the healthcare system into one that is better equipped to meet the changing needs of Canadians.The Commission has invited nurse leaders, employers, union representatives, economists, business leaders and the public to share their thoughts, ideas and advice.

The website link above provides ways for you to stay up-to-date on the CNA Commission’s work and have your voice heard. The ARNBC is in full support of the work of the CNA Expert Commission and will be continuing to communicate regularly to you about issues and events that will be of interest to nurses in B.C. Many of you have told us how important it is for our provincial and national professional associations to make our views known on major health policy issues.

I hope that many of us in B.C. will continue to find ways to get our points across in a clear and constructive manner through venues such as radio shows, letters to the editor, conversations with our MLAs and MPs, and town hall meetings.

Here at the ARNBC we will use our website to keep you apprised of opportunities we learn about. Please reciprocate if you learn of opportunities you think we should participate in.

In the meanwhile, at ARNBC we are launching a province-wide consultation process so that we can engage with nurses from diverse communities and diverse perspectives. Please check our website regularly to find out when we will be in your area or hosting an online meeting, and join us to share your ideas on the future of nursing in our province. We look forward to hearing from you about how ARNBC can best evolve to support the voice of B.C. nurses, while complementing the work of the CNA, CRNBC and the BCNU.



Paddy Rodney, RN is a nurse educator with a specialty in ethics. Her early clinical and teaching background was in critical care nursing. Paddy is currently an Associate Professor at the UBC School of Nursing and is affiliated with the UBC Centre for Applied Ethics, Providence Health Care Ethics Services, and the Canadian Bioethics Society. Over the last 25 years, she has lectured and consulted on nursing ethics for nursing associations and unions. Paddy was also actively involved in the last three revisions of the Canadian Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses.


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How do you find out that stuff like this is coming up? Radio or tv or newspaper articles - how do you learn about what's coming up that you can then call in or respond to? I would be interested but I don't always know about things until after they happen.

Shannon Mann


I just wanted to congratulate you on the work that you're doing to keep nurses informed and engaged in discussions about nursing. I'm really looking forward to the consultations and I hope to be part of that conversation when you're in my area. Even if I can't go, I value the newsletter updates, and I come to the blog all the time to see if there's anything new posted. I hope as time goes on more and more nurses will begin to comment on the excellent articles you're posting on this blog. Sometimes I think the comments are just as educational as the blog itself.

It makes such a difference to know that we're starting to pull together again and rebuild some of the good things that were part of the old association. Thank you for all of your hard work.

Paddy Rodney

Alannah and Shannon, thanks for your responses.

Alannah, you have raised a good question about how we can all stay informed about important media events and other public sessions related to health care. At the ARNBC we will continue to post what we are aware of on this website and we welcome nurses to e-mail our ARNBC office to notify us of what they become aware of. We have an active Communications Committee that will continue to work to build our communication network.

Shannon, thanks for your feedback. Yes, we want to build a place where we can come together as nurses (along with the CNA, CRNBC and BCNU) for the good of nursing, the health care system and the public.


[...] Rodney’s blog on the Transformation of Health Care in Canada (Jan. 16, 2012) and news from the Council of the Federation meetings in Victoria have generated [...]