Community Health Nurses of Canada continues to thrive! Much has been accomplished over the past 31 years, thanks to tireless efforts of many, many volunteers.
Several aspects of the Community Health Nurses of Canada Strategic Plan 2016 - 2019
have been realized and the board is working on planning the future for CHNC. Much has changed since this plan was envisioned and careful consideration of our context and environment will inform the plan over the coming years. As a volunteer professional association we face significant challenges, but what we lack in resources, we more than make up for in dedication. Thank you to all who were able to respond to our member survey this year to help inform CHNC's direction. Results of the survey are available here
. We have been honoured to work with the board this past year and humbled by their enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism toward supporting and advancing CHN practice and improving health policy.
CHNC: Supporting and Advancing CHN Practice
The CHNC Board continues to function through the various Standing Committeeswhich include many volunteer members. Terms of Reference and work plans for eachare continually updated to reflect the actions assigned to the various committees within the Strategic Plan and incorporating the feedback from the member survey.
Supporting and advancing CHN practice through the CHNC Standards of Practice is a critical issue for CHNC. Work on a CHNC Standards of Practice update began this year under the guidance of an Advisory Committee including expertise from across the country and fromvarious areas of CHN practice. Changes in our practice environment along with a planned update to the Certification exam early in 2019 make this Standards update timely. The conference is one opportunity members will have to provide input into the revised Standards. The Advisory Group, along with a workgroup from the Standards and Competencies committee,is making great progress. A Research Assistant made available from the Loyer DaSilva Chair has helped enormously. Other examples of collaboration to support CHN practice include leadership webinars, certification support and even a consultation on the Saudi Arabia CHN Nursing curriculum.
Last year's resolution adopted at the AGM Integrating Action on Health Equity for Indigenous People has strengthened our relationships with the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association (CINA) in order to integrate an Indigenous focus into CHNC operations, offerings and programs. The pre-conference workshop is but one example of the collaborative relationship that has been developed with CINA. A joint meeting of the CINA and CHNC Boards held June 25 identified ways in which we can continue to collaborate.
CHNC has also strengthened our relationships with the Canadian Family Practice Nurses association (CFPNA) who have adopted the CHNC Standards and are participating in the work of the organization and standards review.
CHNC has actively participated in several practice related initiatives with CNA this year. Members participated in consultations related to development of core competencies for all certification exams including Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), Cultural safety / Indigenous Health and Addictions / Substance Use and a roundtable on the education needs of nurses regarding cannabis. Joyce represented CHNC on the CNA Advisory Committee for the review of the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses.
As President, Katie participates in the Certification Program Advisory Committee (CPAC) and Canadian Network of Nursing Specialties. CPAC is a forum to discuss certification, to have a voice in the direction certification is going and to learn from others how they encourage certification among their members and in their specialty. Membership in the CNA’s Canadian Network of Nursing Specialties provides CHNC an opportunity for input and advocacy in the Canadian Nurses Association. Katie participated in a CPAC meeting in Ottawa in December to discuss the Certification program and help CNA establish future directions for the program.
In June 2018, Katie and Cheryl Reid-HeighanCHNC Secretary, attended the CNA Biennium where the historical decision of CNA expanding its membership beyond RNs and NPs by inviting licensed/registered practical nurses (LPNs/RPNs) and registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) to be members of the association was on the agenda.
CHNC: Supporting Health
A number of health policy topics were addressed by the CHNC Board this year including endorsements, health policy and educational products. Through our partnership in the Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century (CCPH21), CHNC supported a position statement on Decriminalization-Personal-use-Psychoactive-Substances
. This harm reduction action would see a reduction of the legal barriers which cause harm to individuals who use drugs. Other policy topics CHNC contributed to this year include Lyme Disease, a Bicycle Helmets campaign of the Canadian Nursing Students Association, and MAID.
Katie and Lorraine Telford (Chair of the Research and Health Policy Standing Committee and Alberta Board representative) attended meetings with theChief Public Health Officer, Dr Teresa Tam, in a Health Professionals Forum.The Forum’s purpose is to facilitate enhanced relationships and synergy across public health professions, advance strategic and horizontal public health issues of national importance, and improve responsiveness and public communication on emerging public health and population health issues.
CHNC: The Future
Much progress has been made in Community Health Nursing but much remains to be done. CHNC members receive mentorship, support and teamwork opportunities, all well documented in the literature to be associated with professional associations. Networking is also linked to high quality patient care1. A strong CHNC will continue to provide these networking opportunities for CHNs.
The CHNC Board has continued discussions regarding financial sustainability.looking specifically at how to engage sponsors and support membership growth. Tools to support sponsor engagement and a substantial list of companies, congruent with the CHNC mission and values, will enable this work. Member benefit enhancements are being considered including adding group insurance and conjoint memberships with the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA).
There are almost 65,000 Community Health Nurses in Canada2. Clarity about their roles is very important as the work of community health nurses remains invisible in various arenas. A lack of understanding about Community Health Nursing and stereotypes about the roles exist among students3. CHNC advocated for a member to participate in Canadian Public Health Associations 'Exploring Careers in public health webinar:A day in the life of A Public Health Nurse4. This webinar provided real life experience and career-related insights and advice. An article about CHNC, written by current and past Presidents and Executive Directors, has been submitted to the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership for publication.
We would like to thank all the volunteers who participate on the board, through the various standing committees and on specific initiatives, for their tireless work to strengthen and support Community Health Nursing Practice and improve health. We are indebted to them for their dedication and commitment to the organization.
Katie Dilworth and Joyce Fox
1. Sherman, R., Cohn, T., Why your nursing networks matter American Nursing today 2018 13(3).
3. Josephine Etowa, MaameAkyaaDuah and BagniniKohoun The Meaning of Community Health Nursing: Voices of Undergraduate Nursing Students. Journal of Teaching and Education, CD-ROM. ISSN: 2165-6266 :: 07(01):275–288 (2017)