Interview with Ann Mann and Sue Smith

Bringing two organizations together can’t be a simple undertaking. What is behind the consideration to create one nursing regulator in Nova Scotia?

Ann: You’re right it’s not going to be simple, which is why so much thought was put into determining if this was the right decision of our organizations. This work all came about a couple of years ago when one of our CLPNNS Board members asked if Nova Scotians might be better served by one nursing regulator as opposed to two. And we had to really consider this question because upholding the safety of the public through our work in nursing regulation is our reason for being. It’s why we exist. So, it was a fantastic question to ask and a real demonstration of what self-regulation is all about.

Sue: The beauty of all of this is that each of our organizations share the same purpose so it made perfect sense for us to both to really unpack this question. Our boards started the work of gathering and analyzing the research and felt confident that their ultimate decision to create one new body was grounded in sound evidence. It’s groundbreaking for sure and we’re mindful of the road ahead of us but we’re ready to embrace the opportunities we know will exist in our new collaborative future.

So what exactly do you hope to achieve and what do you see for the future?

Sue: Well, that’s a pretty big question but I’ll start by saying that we think that we have an opportunity to transform nursing regulation by being more flexible and nimble in the future. We are 100% committed to being open and to creating a new organization that looks for opportunities. We strongly believe that this will enable us to find new ways to add value for our stakeholders and to improve processes to the extent and manner that we can. Having said that, this won’t change our core work. We’re in the business of protecting the public and we will still do this, how we do it may look different in the future – we don’t that know yet – but the core elements of our work will remain.

Ann: I think the most exciting part of this process is that we don’t see this as work that will be happening alone. We see our members and other stakeholders as key to this process. They engage with us every day so we want them to tell us…what can we improve on? What might we do to simplify things? What is working well that we can learn from and apply in other areas? We would be doing ourselves and our stakeholders a disservice if we believed that we alone had the answers to these questions. So we plan to engage people throughout this process and we see members from each college as an important part of this work. It’s this work that is going to help shape the new regulator. So everybody should stay tuned!

It might be too early to know the full benefits of becoming one regulator but you must expect some in order to undertake this work in the first place. Can you share what those are?

Ann: Absolutely. We see that coming together as one regulating body will reduce what could be perceived as a siloed or fractured approach to regulation. It will allow the new body to take a more holistic approach to regulation for the whole nursing profession. It’s too early to tell this from where we sit now but we might expect to find some operational efficiencies and economies of scale as we progress as well.

Sue: As Ann mentioned earlier, there’s a lot yet to be determined about our future state and that’s because we truly want the new regulator to be built upon the feedback of our stakeholders. So we don’t have a lot of preconceived notions about what that will look like. Having said that, we can confidently say the creation of one body will mean there’s one single point of contact for the public who don’t always differentiate between the three nursing designations now. We also see value in the ability to speak, when appropriate, with one voice with the public and other stakeholders. Really, this process of discovery, if you will, through engaging with stakeholders is a significant benefit as well.

Ann: And you will hear us talk a lot about “oneness”, which is easy to do when you’re creating one new body but we want to be clear that the roles of LPNs, NPs and RNs will remain unique and distinct as they are today.

Sue: Nurses work collaboratively within the health care system to provide safe and quality care to clients. Coming together to create one nursing regulator will allow us, as regulators, to model that same spirit of collaboration.

How is progress going and what’s happening next?

Sue: Things are definitely moving ahead and our progress is going well. We’re well into our planning phase now and have been spending a significant amount of time focused on the process that will allow us to develop the legislation we’ll need to have in place.

Ann: That’s really a huge piece of this. We just recently met with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness and we were delighted to come away from that meeting with their support for the plan and an agreement to collaborate on building the new legislation together. Our goal is to develop legislation and new processes that allow us to stay current and nimble as a regulator. So we’re really looking forward to that work taking place.

Sue: We’re also preparing the two organizations to be ready for when the legislation is proclaimed even though this isn’t happening for a while yet. This is a significant undertaking and a big change so we want to take the time to do this right and gathering input from our stakeholders and collaborating with others is key.

So, have you got an end date in mind?

Ann: It’s really too difficult to say right now because we’re learning more about this process every day. It’s also not work that we’re doing alone so our timeline includes a lot of variables. We like to believe that the best case scenario would see the new regulator in place in 2019 but we’ll have a better idea of those timelines as we continue down this road.

I don’t want to put anybody on the spot here but I’m doing the math. I’m sitting across from the two of you as leaders of the two colleges that exist today and we’re looking at just one organization ahead. Any leadership secrets you care to share?

Ann: Even we don’t know that yet! I think it’s safe to say that we’re quite certain there will be just one CEO or Executive Director for the new regulator but we’re a long way off from those types of decisions.

Sue: That really goes to show you that we have no crystal ball! I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to work more closely with Ann and her team throughout this process. We have developed a great partnership that is only strengthening our work at hand.

Ann: I couldn’t agree more, Sue. It’s been a pleasure for me as well. So, to answer your question, we have no secrets. We have a lot of work to do, we want to engage with our stakeholders, keep people informed, and build an innovative and responsive regulator that will serve us well into the future.

All members will have an opportunity to provide feedback about the creation of the new nursing regulator and we will be finalizing those engagement plans shortly. As always, please stay tuned to your newsletters, our website and Facebook for more details. We’ll share the latest information with you there and we look forward to working with you.