Highlights of 2015 by Nora Whyte

2015 marked a professional transition as my work with the Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC) came to an end after close to four years of exciting and satisfying times during the organization’s development.

One of my personal highlights was collaborating with ARNBC colleagues Julie Fraser and Barb Reece on a presentation delivered by Julie at the International Council of Nurses’ Conference held in Seoul in June 2015. Our presentation – Developing Nurse Leaders: An Important Role for Professional Nursing Associations – outlined ARNBC’s experience in implementing strategies to support the development of emerging leaders through local networks and student engagement activities.

Dr. Sheila Tlou giving a plenary presentation at ICN Conference in Seoul.

Dr. Sheila Tlou giving a plenary presentation at ICN Conference in Seoul. Photo credit: ICN

It was a pleasure to follow the daily updates from the ICN Conference and to review presentation materials posted at a later date. See the ICN conference site for selected presentation slides on the theme of Global Citizen, Global Nursing.

Other highlights were speaking invitations during the fall including the opportunity to deliver opening greetings at the 25th anniversary celebration of the British Columbia History of Nursing Society in September – a wonderful event held at Hycroft in Vancouver and a great chance to see many friends and colleagues.

Networking at CNSA Regional Conference in Courtenay, BC. Oct. 2015

Networking at CNSA Regional Conference in Courtenay, BC. Oct. 2015


Meetings with students at North Island College and at the Western/Prairie Regional Conference of the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) were enjoyable times to talk with students, to learn about their interests and to observe student leadership in action. See my blogpost below dated Oct. 26, 2015.







Plans for 2016 include writing projects and continuing my consulting work in nursing and global health.

With my thanks to colleagues for your support in 2015 and best wishes for the coming year!

Nora Whyte

Nursing Leadership: Global Contexts and Connections

It was a great pleasure to meet with nursing student leaders at the Western/Prairie Regional Conference of the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association in Courtenay, British Columbia on October 25, 2015. The conference theme for this dynamic gathering was Inspire! Advocate! Unleash!

Graduate Students at Baba Farid College of Nursing, Faridkot, India

Graduate Students at Baba Farid College of Nursing, Faridkot, India

In my keynote address I explored aspects of the role of Canadian nurses as global citizens. Drawing on experiences and lessons learned through involvement in international partnerships, I shared examples of advocacy by nurses and their organizations in improving health and health systems. I highlighted current global contexts and connections for Canadian nurses including our strong link to a global nursing leadership community through the International Council of Nurses. An important new political advocacy context for nurses around the world is the launch of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, known as the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

My presentation slides posted here have links to references and resources for further exploration: Nursing Leadership CNSA Conference

Thanks to the conference planning committee for inviting me to speak and to all the student delegates for your interest and questions!

Nora Whyte

2014 in Review

2014 was marked by numerous opportunities to meet, exchange ideas and learn with my colleagues and to make a change in my role with the Association of Registered Nurses of BC (ARNBC).  During the course of the past 12 months, I have moved from being interim executive director to interim policy lead and, by year end, to senior consultant, nursing leadership.

I attended stimulating meetings and conferences throughout the year, the first being the annual Quality Forum hosted by the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council. The highlight was a presentation by Robert Francis, who led the public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire National Health Service Foundation Trust in the UK. The audience heard some of the inside story through his description of meeting with patients, families and the brave whistleblowers who insisted that the systemic organizational failures be made public and acted upon. I have continued to follow the story as others have been writing about the issues that came to light and the changes underway as a result of the Francis Report.


BC Nurses at CNA AGM and Convention
June 2014

ARNBC Booth at CNA AGM and Convention 2014

ARNBC Booth at CNA AGM and Convention Winnipeg










Another important event was the annual meeting and convention of the Canadian Nurses Association in Winnipeg in June, where I was part of the team from British Columbia. Highlights included meeting nurses from across the country, observing the proceedings during the AGM, being present for the installation of Karima Velji as CNA President–and saying a fond farewell to outgoing President Barb Mildon–and holding a great breakfast meeting with the Steering Committee for the newly formed Manitoba RN Network.

Meeting of ARNBC Board and Staff with members of the Steering Committee, Manitoba RN Network in Winnipeg


Ms. Charanjit Kaur and Mr. H.C. Rawat
From Baba Farid University of Health Sciences
Visit to UBC, Vancouver – June 2014


The University of British Columbia School of Nursing in Vancouver, Canada and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences in Punjab, India have continued their partnership to advance nursing research and to strengthen hospital nursing practice through continuing education. I have enjoyed my ongoing role during the past few years as a member of the partnership advisory committee.

Visits by faculty members of both institutions continued in 2014 as they worked on joint initiatives through the support of the two universities and the Canada India Education Society.  I was pleased to reconnect with colleagues from India for an informal dinner during their visit to Vancouver in June.

These personal connections with colleagues always stand out as high points of the year as a source of inspiration and ideas for my work…to be continued in 2015.



Nora Whyte

December 31, 2014

Highlights of 2013

This past year saw many positive developments in our work to build a provincial nursing association in British Columbia. The Association of Registered Nurses of BC (ARNBC) celebrated its third anniversary in 2013 and held its second annual meeting. Through a partnership with the College of Registered Nurses of BC, ARNBC has a secure future as we enter 2014. Last month we moved into a new office space on Creekside Drive in Vancouver’s False Creek area where we are so pleased to have a permanent home.

View from New ARNBC Office

ARNBC’s achievements included establishing an innovative Network Leads Program that began as a pilot initiative in the first half of the year and grew into an ongoing program with nurses and nursing students throughout BC taking on roles as ambassadors for the Association. Network Leads are demonstrating success in reaching out to their own unique networks in their communities, workplaces and schools of nursing. They share their experiences and alert the ARNBC staff and Board to emerging issues or needs for support.  Monthly meetings provide a mechanism for staying connected and updated. The Network Leads Page is a good starting point for anyone who is interested in finding a Network or in volunteering as a Network Lead.

Our social media presence grew steadily during the past year as more people used these platforms for engagement with their colleagues. It is fascinating to observe the interest generated by blog posts, as noted in this year-end article.

ARNBC is proud to be a member of the Canadian Nurses Association—2013 brought opportunities to voice perspectives from BC during the annual meeting in Ottawa in June and throughout the year with our president’s participation in the CNA Board of Directors.

Looking back on the year with its challenges and highlights, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to work closely with remarkable nurses in British Columbia and with leaders in local and national nursing organizations.

Posted by Nora Whyte, Interim Executive Director, ARNBC

News from India: Launch of Dhahan Village Improvement Project


Visit to Dhahan Village, Punjab


Two years ago during a visit to India with colleagues from Canada, we spent an interesting afternoon touring Dhahan village in rural Punjab and meeting with community members. We learned about concerns with lack of sewerage treatment and observed issues with open ponds and garbage in this otherwise beautiful rural setting.

Last month the Canada India Education Society (CIES), in conjunction with the Dhahan village council and the Punjab state government, announced the Dhahan Village Improvement Project.

Dhahan Village 2011



Elements of the project will include a sanitary sewer system, improvements in the water supply, and installation of solar street lighting. The project also has an educational aspect aimed at raising awareness about community practices that will help maintain the overall environment of the village and its surrounding area. It is such a great example of people coming together to implement changes that will make a difference to public health and the environment.

Please visit the CIES website to view a video on the project.

Congratulations to all the partners involved in getting this initiative underway!

Nora Whyte

A Landmark Year

English Bay, Vancouver, BC
October 2012

2012 was a landmark year for the Association of Registered Nurses of BC (ARNBC). We began by launching an extensive consultation with nurses around the province—a process that forged many new connections and generated ideas for a strategic plan for the organization. In the spring we held our first Annual General Meeting and election of new board members.

In June it was a thrill and an honour to participate in the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) Annual Meeting and Biennial Convention in Vancouver. ARNBC was recognized for developing a new provincial nursing association and was formally named as the jurisdictional member for British Columbia of the CNA. We have arrived! The presence of BC nurses was evident: Our voting delegates presented and debated resolutions, many nurses served as volunteers, we connected with delegates from across the country through our exhibit table and social events.

It has been exciting to witness increased student engagement in ARNBC this past year, particularly through student-initiated events and projects to promote awareness of the role of a professional nursing association. Students are signing up for our distribution list and are connecting via social media. During the fall of 2012, Board members gave presentations to students and faculty members in four BC schools of nursing and at the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association Western Conference held in Vancouver in October.

Reflecting on the past year, we faced typical challenges in our organizational development and we’re well aware of the work needed to build and sustain a new association from the ground up. I want to thank everyone who has supported our efforts by coming out to events, engaging through social media and by writing and commenting on our Blog. The ARNBC Blog has become the centrepiece of our social media presence and a forum for dynamic exchanges on policy issues—please visit often and offer your comments.


Nora’s Update – August 2012

Russian Sage at the Beach House Summer 2012

People often ask what I’m doing these days and what projects I have on the go. When I’m not in the garden—the Russian sage is performing beautifully this year–I’m managing the work of the Association of Registered Nurses of BC (see my July 22 Memorable Moments post below). My role includes working closely with the Board of Directors in overall coordination of our activities to develop a new professional nursing association in British Columbia.

As some of you know, I have remained interested in and connected to a project in India. The University of British Columbia School of Nursing and the Canada-India Education Society (CIES) have had a longstanding relationship with health care and nursing education initiatives in Punjab state through the Guru Nanak Mission Medical and Educational Trust. From 2001 to 2005, I worked as a consultant on a primary health care project that focused on community-based activities in villages near the Guru Nanak Mission Hospital and its affiliated College of Nursing at Dhahan-Kaleran in Nawanshahr District.

Following a visit to India in February 2011 by a small delegation from CIES and UBC (see my Highlights of 2011 post), a new relationship was begun with Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS). All nursing colleges in Punjab state, including the Guru Nanak College, come under the umbrella of this large university located in Faridkot, in western Punjab.

Map of Punjab State and Districts

The overall goal of the new partnership is to provide for an exchange of educational and research opportunities to build capacity bilaterally. Specific objective are to contribute to the professional development of nurse educators, strengthen graduate nursing education and increase research capacity throughout the colleges associated with the BFUHS system. I am pleased to serve on the Baba Farid Partnership Advisory Committee of the UBC School of Nursing and was delighted to meet with two nursing faculty members from BFUHS in June while they were visiting UBC.  I look forward to similar exchanges as this partnership develops.

Nora Whyte

August 14, 2012

ARNBC Spring Update 2012

Visit ARNBC Website for More News

The past few months have been exciting ones for ARNBC: the new nursing association in British Columbia is gaining momentum with increased growth and other positive indicators of interest from nurses around the province.

ARNBC’s Consultations Project, part of an ongoing engagement process with nurses, is well underway and is yielding a rich array of ideas and practical suggestions for the future including topics for policy work, ideas for revitalizing the network of specialty practice groups and identification of gaps that ARNBC could fill during the next few years.

As our showpiece project for the first part of 2012, we have created a special Consultations Page that includes a map and calendar of sessions, comments and updates. You can also review and download resource materials—these materials provide additional background and are available for nurses to use in hosting informal kitchen table conversations with groups of colleagues.

We are proud of the work of our Board members and our team from Monkeytree Creative on our website and social media development. It is so gratifying to observe the recent increase in social media followers and contributors as well as the fantastic response to our blog articles. Members of our team and guest authors are coming forward with timely and thoughtful articles and many people are posting fascinating comments. Please see recent posts by Bernie Pauly, Wendy Bowles, Barb Reece and Betty Poag—thanks for sharing your ideas and opinions!

We continue to work closely with the Canadian Nurses Association and look forward to seeing many nurses in Vancouver in June at the CNA Annual Meeting and Biennial Convention.


Posted by Nora Whyte

ARNBC Website



Highlights of 2011 by Nora Whyte

Among the highlights of 2011 was the opportunity to make a return visit to India as part of a small delegation from the Canada-India Education Society and the University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Nursing.  The Canada-India Education Society (CIES) is a civil society organization in BC that has been active in development work in rural Punjab for the past 20 years. CIES and UBC School of Nursing have a strong history of working together in support of nursing education, primary health care and community development in one district in Punjab state.

Harinder Dhahan, Sarup Mann, Barj Dhahan, Susan Dahinten and I met with representatives of organizations in New Delhi and Chandigarh and in several centres and villages in Punjab. Each meeting contributed to our understanding of current issues and gave us an opportunity to explore areas of mutual interest.  Our purpose was to explore the potential for long-term initiatives and partnerships in rural social and economic development.

It was fascinating to return to North India to witness recent changes in infrastructure, to learn about current social conditions and to meet dynamic people who are contributing to change. One of the most exciting places to visit was the Public Health Foundation of India that has become a national focal point for public health training, research and advocacy since its formation in 2006.

BC group with hosts at BFUHS, Faridkot

We were invited to visit Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) in Faridkot where we were welcomed by university officials, met with faculty members and graduate students, visited three affiliated nursing colleges in Faridkot and Muktsar districts and toured the university teaching hospital. Baba Farid University is a growing public institution responsible for all nursing, medical and dental education in Punjab with 40,000 students in 140 colleges.

On a personal level, it was also highly rewarding to reconnect with people we had met on previous visits, particularly staff at Guru Nanak Mission Trust in Dhahan-Kaleran, Nawanshahr, where I had been a regular visitor from 2001 to 2005. Although our time on this trip was quite limited, we enjoyed an informal meeting with faculty at the Guru Nanak College of Nursing, a tour of Dhahan village and a visit to the local school.  Plans are now well underway for several collaborative initiatives that will be implemented in 2012.

Other highlights in 2011 are covered in the posts below about my new role as project manager for the Association of Registered Nurses of BC. In December we hosted a member engagement visit by representatives of the Canadian Nurses Association and we look forward to the CNA Annual Meeting and Biennial Convention that will be held in Vancouver in June 2012. For a link to the CNA Convention info and notices about other conferences, please see the Events Page.

Morning school run in Faridkot, Punjab

ARNBC Developments December 2011

Trumpeter Swans - Comox Bay

The ARNBC Blog is gathering momentum! It has been so interesting  to read the posts and the comments that are being generated over time. Pat Foster wrote a great one recently on the theme of Better Health, Better Care highlighting the role of nurses in chronic disease management.

Two astute commentaries on Pat’s article are worth reading for the authors’ knowledge of the history of the Comox Valley Nursing Centre and for their expert perspectives on the value of a professional association in innovation and policy leadership.

Please visit the ARNBC blog to read other articles of interest to nurses in British Columbia and to add your voice to our discussions.

We are launching a consultation process with BC nurses in 2012–more to come in the next update.


Posted by Nora Whyte

Project Manager, Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia