DR MARK JONES shares why he’s glad the College of Nurses ‘has his back’ and what membership means to him.
AA membership, car, motorcycle, house and contents insurance; these are a few of the regular ‘just in case’ deductions from my bank account. But they are exactly that, payments for when things go wrong and you need a bail out for unexpected costs and inconvenience.
At one level, membership of the College of Nurses is similar as it provides $1 million of indemnity insurance as part of the package. Having this ‘cover’ is reassuring but just as my house burning down or car being wrecked doesn’t enter my consciousness on a regular basis, neither does being charged with malpractice. Indemnity insurance is a nice safety net at the back of my mind, but College membership is much more than that.
As a member, I have a wide range of free resources available to support me as a nurse. These range from briefing documents on a wide range of pertinent issues in nursing and health through to professional publications. Nursing Review gives easy insight into contemporaneous nursing issues, and while accessible online a ‘real life’ hard copy also arrives in the mailbox of College members. Te Puawai updates members on the work of the College, summarising conference proceedings, working party reports, government publications and so on. Whereas Nursing Praxis, one of New Zealand’s very, very few peer-reviewed journals for our profession, gives access to the latest healthcare research findings. As a College member, I also receive weekly email bulletins providing a roundup of national and international nursing and health news, plus links to recent international publications.
For me, the College’s ability to act as an information broker is a key reason for joining. Like many of you, I don’t have the time to pull together information as the College does, let alone summarise and have it delivered directly to my mailbox.
Likewise, when it comes to making my views and opinions known, the College helps with that too. The Ministry of Health, the Nursing Council, and many other significant entities issue a seemingly continuous series of requests for input to consultation exercises and draft policy statements. I know that, as someone who cares about my profession and the health of our population, I really should have my say, but even if I did know of everything that is going on, I don’t always have the time to submit anything. Again, the College is able to compile members’ submissions, even just quick comments and bullet points, and turn them into a professional, well-crafted response commanding attention and respect.
Comprehensive knowledge base
The College is able to do all of this so well because its membership is full of nurses who really do know what they are talking about. With around 100 Fellows drawn from most areas of nursing, and specialist nurses in membership, the College is a focus of expertise available to me, and you. It is possible to log onto a discussion board and interact with experts in your field, or go along to a workshop held nearby. I can’t overemphasise the true significance of this knowledge base. Many members have benefited from ongoing workshops on developing professional portfolios and the College now also offers access to an ‘ePortfolio’ facility.
Coming from the reasonably unique position of being a former New Zealand chief nurse, I can say the College of Nurses Aotearoa is a force to be reckoned with. The College’s profile is way up there and its opinion – often succinctly voiced by executive director Professor Jenny Carryer or co-chairs Dr Kathy Holloway and Taima Campbell – is certainly well regarded by government and policy makers. No one in their right mind seeking to devise health strategy relying on nursing would do so without asking the College for input, which it ably provides, in collaboration with other national nursing organisations.
It’s obvious the College has much to offer and is an organisation be taken seriously. As a member of the College, you join and buy into the collected wisdom of leading nurses shaping the profession’s future and into an organisation that can both represent you in doing that and assist you in making a contribution. I am pleased the College has my back; I am impressed that an organisation, with the skill and ability it has, is representing my interests and those of our communities, and I am honoured to stand tall as part of my country’s professional organisation
for nursing. You can be a part of this too.
Author: Dr Mark Jones is a Fellow and board member of the College of Nurses