I can’t wait to meet you

March/April 2017   Comments

Nursing practice does not happen without connections. Remember those first nursing labs where we learned about empathic statements, eye contact and reading non-verbal cues? Recall those defining moments in your nursing career when that connection with a person, family or community facilitated change and improved health?

I am all about connections; that is how I get my work done. We are stronger as a profession when we are connected. We are stronger as a country when we are connected. Yet, both as a profession and as a country, we seem to have an innate desire to regularly question why we choose to maintain these connections.

This is the time of year when president-elect Claire Betker and I start to travel to the various annual meetings of CNA’s jurisdictional members and Canadian Network of Nursing Specialties’ groups across the country. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet nurses from varied practice settings. This is one of the most joyous parts of being president — making the connections, hearing the stories and talking with nurses about what CNA is doing on their behalf to advance the profession and to improve the health of Canadians. It makes the advocacy real. It brings the position statements home. Those connections offer the opening to talk about the issues that are important to nurses from coast to coast to coast and to integrate that feedback into CNA’s work.

These visits remind me about the vast and beautiful country we live in. They remind me how important it is for CNA to be connected to our provincial/territorial associations and colleges and our specialty groups, and for them to be connected to the national association for the strength of the profession and for the health of our country. I look forward to the visits with much anticipation! I want to hear from you and I want to learn from you.

As Canadians, we live in the dynamic tension of a federation that has come together as a nation. In many other areas of the world, each province and territory would be a separate country. We have a decision-making style that includes coming to a consensus, if possible, and demonstrating tolerance at the end of the day. CNA is a federation — much like our country — and it is important that we hear all voices. Our strength is connection, and the result of that connection is the synergy that happens when we work together toward common goals. In the wise words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”

Barb Shellian, RN, BN, MN

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