AU involvement on new provincial board reflects commitment to the future of nursing
Nurses from across Alberta will soon be able to join a new professional association—and expertise from Athabasca University (AU) is helping to lay the all-important groundwork.
In anticipation of Government of Alberta legislation requiring professional colleges and associations in the province to operate as separate entities, in September 2020, the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) began taking immediate steps toward developing and growing an independent nursing association.
Going forward, the college will focus on regulatory excellence. The new association’s mandate will be refined in coming months following consultations with Alberta nurses.
Dr. Margaret Edwards, AU Professor and former Dean of the Faculty of Health Disciplines (FHD), has been named Vice-President of the inaugural association board, sharing her more than 40 years of experience as a registered nurse, instructor, author, administrator, and health care education innovator.
She’s joined on the board by: Dr. Barbara Wilson-Keates (RN, Academic Coordinator in FHD), Dr. Brian Larson (RPN, FHD sessional instructor and former President and CEO of Lakeland College), and Lana Timmermans (RN, graduate of the Bachelor of Nursing – AU@MRC collaboration).
One-third of the Board has a strong connection to FHD—and that all volunteered to be considered by CARNA to be part of the new board speaks volumes about their passion for nursing education and the future of the profession as a whole.
“Commitment like this lies at the heart of AU’s overall approach to nursing education. It’s reflected in the quality of students’ educational experiences in highly regarded programs that are constantly evolving to meet health care need.”– Dr. Margaret Edwards, AU Professor and former Dean of the Faculty of Health Disciplines
Involvement also shows a desire to give back to the larger community, enabling nurses, patients, and communities to benefit from AU knowledge and leadership.
“Community and professional service is one of the hallmarks of the Faculty of Health Disciplines,” said Edwards. “The diverse knowledge and experience that those of us who work with or are graduates of AU will bring to this new enterprise will contribute to building a solid foundation for this new professional association, and position it well for the future.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to engage with nurses across Alberta to create an association that will best meet their needs. Our first priorities will be to speak to and engage with nurses, and to listen.”
With input from nurses, the founding board will set the association’s mission, vision, and articles of incorporation, as well as its official name. Membership is planned to be extended to all registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered psychiatric nurses, and licensed practical nurses in Alberta.
“This is a pivotal time in the association’s development, and I’m excited to be working alongside people from across Alberta who share our passion for nursing,” said Edwards.
Nurses who wish to share their thoughts about the new association are invited to contact Dr. Margaret Edwards directly via email. Additional information about the separation of the nursing college and association is available on the CARNA website.