By Sheldon Vogt; Local 115 Communications, United Nurses of Alberta.
Let me begin by wishing you all the very best and happiest of holiday seasons. As we approach the New Year I find myself reflecting on the year that was. Being elected into the United Nurses of Alberta Local 115 Communications Committee provided me a thorough introduction to our Local. Most notably was my increased awareness of Local activities, meetings, events and education and how I could be part of it all.
Until this year, I had never been to a United Nurses of Alberta Local 115 Annual General Meeting (AGM). I entered the room not knowing what to expect but had a general sense of excitement at the opportunity to be involved in conversations that positively impact the delivery of patient/family centered care.
The meeting began with a presentation from the Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS). I was particularly interested in the referral process from hospital and was excited to learn CUPS has two on-site Registered Nurses working at Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) to share the challenge of the delivery of primary healthcare between FMC and CUPS. Marginalized populations are associated with high readmission rates to hospital largely because of lack of awareness and accessibility of available community resources. CUPS assists low income individuals/families with access to community based primary healthcare and a wealth of other community based resources, improving quality of life and decreasing rate of admission/readmission to hospital. CUPS is primarily funded by donations and has over 500 active volunteers. For those unfamiliar with the importance of volunteering please read “Maybe it Means Just a Little Bit More” from our Local’s winter newsletter.
Following the highly informative presentation, conversation turned toward Local business. Our president addressed the group with introductions of the executive team and a personal statement. Nominees for Local positions were recognized, motions were discussed and then the nominees and motions were voted on. Our treasurer discussed the budget from 2015 and the upcoming budget for 2016. Through the unique language and meeting structure came the feeling of unity and solidarity; nurses gathered together for a common purpose of helping others. I felt included as motions were brought forward with amendments, and amendments of amendments, and was very grateful to have Executive Officers present who provided transparency, clarity and history behind our Local, aiding all of us in making informed decisions.
As the meeting came to a close and the successful candidates for the Local positions announced, I began to reflect on the event I had just been part of. I remember hearing our Local consists of over 3000 members yet there couldn’t have been many more than 50 people present. Many of those in attendance were long standing members. Where was everyone? With the size and strength of our Local, why were we so underrepresented at our local AGM? Our president spoke to the same fact commenting he would love to see members filling room’s at all Local events. It was clear there is a strong desire to have more members attending events and with the size of our Local it would seem entirely possible to achieve.
So as we turn another page and enter into a new year I encourage all members to support our Local by raising awareness of Local events with the goal of increasing our attendance numbers. Extra extra read all about it! Our next UNA Local 115 meeting is Wednesday January 13th, 2016 from 1600 – 1800. Mark the date in your calendar and join in the conversation. Together we can achieve what we cannot alone and united we stand in our advocacy for maximizing safe holistic patient and family centered care.