No better time

May / June 2018   Comments

It is a fact of life that things must come to an end — books, meetings, winters and terms of CNA presidents. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to represent the profession of nursing in Canada. While the innovative work done by the CNA board, staff and registered nurses from coast to coast to coast over the past two years is well documented, what is not captured in these records is what I have gained personally as president.

My encounters, in every province and territory, with nurses who are doing hard, practical work and ensuring that Canadians receive safe, competent, ethical nursing care made my heart swell with pride.

I have spoken with the prime minister about nursing, hugged a man in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, who cried when he said that nurses saved his life, talked with nurses working in Ghana who believe that Canada leads the way and chaired board meetings when courageous decisions were made about CNA’s future. In all my journeys across this great country, I often looked down from the airplane window and thought: there is no better place to live and no better place to be a nurse.

I am honoured to pass the torch to incoming president Claire Betker. Claire will oversee exciting work and I know she will do a wonderful job.

The president is the recipient of the support of a village at CNA House in Ottawa. The CNA staff are skilled, caring and relentless in their work to achieve what needs to be done to advance the profession and advocate for a healthy Canada. It has been a gift to work with them. As I close this last column, I would be remiss without a shout-out to Anne Sutherland Boal and Michael Villeneuve, two exceptional nurse leaders, who gave me tremendous support.

Nursing is moving forward as a profession and our advocacy has made a difference for Canadians. I am proud to have been part of this work. I did not know my path in nursing would lead me here, and I have no regrets. All endings are also beginnings. Continue to create that future worth wanting.

Barb Shellian, RN, BN, MN

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