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Over 400 attend: NANB fall practice forums in 2006.

In even-numbered years, when NANB holds a short annual general meeting, NANB staff undertakes a series of face-to-face encounters with practising nurses around the province. This fall marked the fourth time such an event was held, with staff from the practice department presenting a variety of information, as well as offering an opportunity for nurses to inform the Association about their concerns.

Day-long sessions in English or French were held in eight communities, from October 18 through November 29: Tracadie, Bathurst, Campbellton, Edmundston, Saint John, Moncton, Miramichi and Fredericton. Campbellton and Moncton each had sessions in both languages, which meant a total of ten sessions in those eight communities.

Preparations for the series were co-ordinated by secretarial staff of NANB with great support from on-site health region staff. To assure adequate handout materials and snacks, pre-registration was required. Nurses were asked to indicate if they intended to attend for the full day or for the Continuing Competence Programme (CCP) portion only.

The range of group size was from 16 to 95 nurses, with a total attendance of 449 officially logged (approximately another 30 or so nurses attended who had not previously registered). Only 111 of the total registered for the CCP portion only. A number of NANB Board members and chapter presidents attended, and were also active participants. An evaluation of participant comments and demographics is underway.

The day was arranged in four parts. The first part of the day, Bits and Bites, was designed to offer information about the Association and some of its activities that nurses might not have been aware of. The second part of the day, Trends and Issues, was a structured form of brainstorming where nurses were asked to identify issues, and in some part, to offer ideas on how to respond to those issues, whether they were local or provincial in nature. The third part of the day was an opportunity for nurses to learn more about CCP--what it is or is not, and evaluate the CCP tools. The last part of the day was an introduction to the CNA NurseOne portal.

Evaluation comments seen so far suggest that Bits and Bites was occasionally interesting. For Trends and Issues, nurses generally wanted more time to discuss issues, or more frequent meetings of this kind to facilitate discussion. While nurses expressed disappointment with the CCP information in a few areas, the majority of nurses were both enthused and relieved at the purpose or content of the CCP material. In those locales where a live demonstration of the Nurses Portal was possible, comments were more favourable than those places where only a description could be given. Whether nurses were pleased or dismayed by the topics or the time available, they were actively engaged with the presenters in every location.

Nurses especially wanted to be sure that the information they offered to NANB during the Trends and Issues part of the day was not simply lost or left sitting: This information will inform ongoing or future activities of NANB. Some issues were clearly regional, while others appeared in more than one region. Each Chapter will receive specific information about issues raised in their area, and a general listing of issues raised at all sites. Chapters may then continue the "conversation" with members and continue to fulfill the communication role they have with members and the Association.

Lessons learnt for future fall forums include a need for at least one more French-only session in the northeastern part of the province, a need not to vary from the planned schedule so that people do not miss particular topics of interest (those who do not come for the full day), and a re-enforcement of the belief that nurses do want to be more involved in the Association.

This is the first time a formal survey of attendance is being analysed to try to find a way to make the sessions more easily accessible to nurses in any practice context; that information is to be assessed with the next round in mind, in 2008. This intention is in keeping with the direction NANB took from the organisational review which leads to greater involvement and visibility of the Association with nurses. As the last fall Practice Forums were attended by a total of 236 nurses, this year's attendance of 449 suggests a modest improvement. Efforts to improve that showing will continue.

Editor's note: Doug Wheeler is the director of practice and policy at the Nurses Association of New Brunswick.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Nurses Association of New Brunswick
Author:Wheeler, Doug
Publication:Info Nursing
Article Type:Conference news
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 22, 2007
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