Highlights of 2023

My professional highlight of 2023 was attending the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Congress in Montreal in July. I wrote about the experience in my summer post on the ICN Congress and have been reflecting on both the content and organization of the event since then. I was glad to meet new people and also to renew acquaintances with colleagues, some of whom I am connected with on social media and enjoy following their updates and commentary.

Photo credit: Renata Mares

The ICN Congress provided opportunities to hear from people I follow such as James Buchan and Howard Catton who discussed their report published by ICN Recover to Rebuild: Investing in the Health Workforce for Health System Effectiveness. Their key message is “that without sufficient investment in well-supported nurses there can be no effective healthcare system recovery and rebuild” (Buchan & Catton, 2023, p. 4).

The experience in Montreal alerted me to watch for and share statements from Dr. Pamela Cipriano, ICN President, and Howard Catton, CEO, in the latter half of the year during the UN General Assembly and other global meetings. Continuing on its important ‘Nurses for Peace’ campaign, the ICN Board issued a strong statement in November on the Israel-Gaza conflict and maintains a dynamic presence on social media. See links below to recent statements:

UN Declaration on Universal Health Care

Universal Healthcare Day Statement

Climate and Health Declaration at COP28

Statement on the Israel-Gaza Conflict

In addition to the experience of the sessions at the ICN Congress, I participated in several webinars offered throughout the year including events hosted by the Canadian Nurses Association: the annual meeting in June and a town hall in September. A notable webinar at the end of the year was a highly informative session with Natalie Bryant from Australia featuring her current work on ‘Indigenist Critical Policy Analysis’. Grounded in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is a framework for assessing organizational policies to determine whether they uphold Indigenous rights and address issues in their policy processes. I look forward to learning more about using the framework. Thanks to the BC Indigenous Health Nursing Research Program and the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Nursing Services Department for hosting this session.

My consulting focused on work with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council as we concluded a community-based research project last year. As a team member, it was satisfying to have our article published in the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership:

Watts. J., Bourque Bearskin, L. Blackstone, D.  Christiansen, S. Young, K., Charleson, J., Charleson, R., Fraser, J., Sangster-Gormley, E., Dick, V., Duncan, S., & Whyte, N. (2023). Nursing the Nuu-chah-nulth Way: Communities driving nursing policy priorities. Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership, 35(4), 55–67. doi:10.12927/cjnl.2023.27073

Another major highlight was the 50th Reunion of our UBC School of Nursing Class (BSN 1973) in May. It was a great, happy time of reminiscing and also gave us a chance to have conversations with classmates about our careers, families, and current interests. We spent time on the UBC campus and had a lovely evening at the Vancouver home of a classmate, Sherri Adams. The reunion committee did a fantastic job of arranging this milestone celebration!

My personal and professional worlds are intertwined in multiple ways. I think back on discussions this past year with a core group of friends and colleagues where the topics have covered writing and reading, conferences, career and retirement decisions, personal changes, the state of the world, travel, and gardening. Supportive friends, family, and close colleagues make it all worthwhile as the years go by.

By Nora Whyte – January 5, 2024

I acknowledge with respect that I live and work on the Unceded traditional territory of the K’òmoks First Nation.

Winter 2023 in the Comox Valley