Community Health Nurses' Group of the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia

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Community Health Nurses' Group of the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia

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The Community Health Nurses Group of the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia was established in 1979. The need for such a group had been identified in the spring of 1978, when the Public Health Nursing Council (PHNC) was disbanded. Some of the nurses from the PHNC came together with the goal of establishing a new group to provide a united professional voice for community nurses and their interests.

After much discussion, it was decided to pursue interest group status in the RNABC, rather than membership in the Canadian Public Health Association. On September 6, 1978, an organizational meeting was held, and “Community Nurses’ Interest Group” was chosen as the name of the proposed group. A presentation was made by the group to the RNABC Board of Directors one week later, and on September 29 permission was granted for the formation of the Community Nurses’ Interest Group.

The major objectives of the group were to promote professional growth among nurses; to contribute to continuing education for community health nurses; and to facilitate communication among members and between community health nurses and the RNABC. The group, under the name Community Health Nurses’ Interest Group, (CHNIG), was not officially established until November 1979, when its bylaws were approved by the RNABC’s Board of Directors.

The Group’s first president was Joey Williams. Membership in the group was made available to all RNABC members engaged or interested in community health nursing. As the Group’s membership grew, regional groups were established throughout British Columbia. In 1987, the Group was involved in the formation of the Community Health Nurses’ Association of Canada (CHNAC).

The CHNIG changed its name to the Community Health Nurses’ Group (CHNG) of the RNABC in 1990. The following members served as Presidents of the CHNIG/ CHNG: Joey Williams (1979-1983); Joan Gallacher (1983-1985); Nora Whyte (1986-1988); Gail Beddome (1989-1991); Diane Harding (1992-1993); Ray Thompson (1993-1995); Cindy Fox (1996-1997); Tamara Olson (1998-1999); and Shirley Sterlinger (2000-2004).

Declining membership (33 in 2003), a shortage of people willing to perform necessary tasks, and the lack of executive support from PH nurse administrators, led to the Group being placed on modified inactive status from October 2000 to October 2002. Subsequent attempts to revive the group were unsuccessful. The Group applied to the RNABC for dissolution February 21, 2003.


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