Membership decision pending

January / February 2018   Comments

In recent columns, I have talked about major transformation at CNA, a process which is now moving from ideas to action. As you will read in Barb Shellian’s column, the board reached a courageous, unanimous decision in November to recommend that membership in CNA be opened to all regulated categories of nurses. That historic vote by members will take place at our annual meeting of members in June 2018. You will see the background and current issues informing that decision in the article starting on page 35.

But let’s look beyond CNA for a minute. Nurses are being called on by Canadians, governments and health-system leaders to work more collaboratively, and to participate in and lead robust interprofessional health-care teams in all sorts of settings. Making that a reality is not being helped by the fragmentation within and across our regulated categories. We cannot achieve shimmering interprofessional nursing practice if we cannot manage our intra-professional rancour. To ensure high-quality care, all of us need to be at the top of our game, wherever we work and in whatever role and category.

Yes, we must acknowledge old wounds and talk about current challenges and fears. But the time has come to find ways to move forward, think broadly and strategically, and ignite new energy in professional nursing by bringing our voices together. Nothing in the fragmentation we have all co-created has done one thing to improve health systems in this country; it has not made patient care one bit safer; and it has not made our practice more satisfying. It has only hamstrung the advancement of professional nursing. Enough! We must put patients and health care front and centre and try something different.

We can collectively choose to transform CNA by opening it up to new members, who can help build and sustain a robust partnership of nursing groups within one national professional association. Or we can slam shut that door, losing an opportunity for CNA to truly unite the voices of all nurses.

Throughout the next few months, we will engage with members and non-members to help explain the urgency and importance of the decision now before us.

Mike Villeneuve, RN, M.Sc.

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