Chief Nursing Officer of Canada Visits the University of Regina

It’s not easy to reach the ears of the federal government, but that’s precisely the role of the Chief Nursing Office of Canada. Dr. Leigh Chapman recently joined colleagues from the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Regina and Sask Polytech in an engagement session with students to discuss her role and ongoing discussions with the federal government.

Following a brief introduction where she highlighted her 20-year background in nursing that started in critical care and migrated to the community sector, Dr. Chapman explained, “my role is to provide advice to Health Canada regarding priority programs and policy areas.”

She added that “the key role of the chief nurse is to recognize the role nurses play in our healthcare system and that nurses have the highest numbers of any regulated health profession in the country. It is incredibly important to have those roles reflected in federal decision-making and health policy creation within Health Canada.”

The licensure pathway is cumbersome, but Dr. Chapman said that Health Canada is working to streamline that approach. It is also advancing multi-jurisdictional registration and licensure while improving workforce data planning.

“There’s been work on internationally educated health professionals broadly – including working with the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) on their streamlining project, as well as pilots underway between British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan in advancing multi-jurisdictional licensure,” Dr. Chapman said.

Although recruitment is still high on the priority list, Dr. Chapman prioritized several retention initiatives. “Knowing that we have nurses who may have left the profession or the public sector, we certainly wanted to encourage initiatives focused on retaining domestic nurses.”

With engagement also being prioritized this year, Chapman said she has committed to visiting every province and territory to foster a sense of community among people in the profession. This presentation was part of the new initiative and saw significant engagement from attendees.

Other presenters during the session on Feb. 13 included Dr. Cheryl Polland, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Regina, and Kandis Harris, Academic Chair at SaskPoly.

If you could not attend the presentation and would like to hear more about these meaningful discussions, you can view the recording here: