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IntNSA President’s Blog June/July 2021

I hope that everyone has had a safe and successful June and July.   You will note this is a combined Blog for June & July as I took the decision to wait till the Board had their ‘annual retreat’ so that I might share with you the most up to date decisions and plans going forward for 2021/2022.  

I do however wish to begin with some sad news, and appreciate many of you may already be aware, but our great friend and colleague Nancy Altman passed away peacefully at her home, surrounded by her family and friends on Saturday, July 17, 2021, after a long and courageous fight with pancreatic cancer.  Despite Nancy’s illness she remained an active and committed member of our community, and she was a key member of our first virtual conference planning committee.  The conference, which we ran the entire month of October 2020, saw visitors from 53 different countries, 955 registered attendees and an amazing 1.1 million impressions on Twitter.  Nancy often mentioned how much she enjoyed being part of this event and how excited she was for IntNSA’s future.   Nancy’s contributions did not stop there.  As a longstanding member of the Foundation of Addictions Nursing (FAN) Board, when the role of President became vacant in 2020, Nancy stepped in without hesitation.   Nancy and I spoke shortly before her passing, and she spoke so fondly of IntNSA, FAN, and the importance of the work that we all do.   She shared with me that as part of her legacy she wished to support a FAN ‘scholarship’.  This gracious and generous act is a true reflection of Nancy’s sweet and gentle spirit which we will all miss.  If you would like to leave a personal message you can visit the following website which has been set up by Nancy’s Family – Nancy Ann Altman Obituary.  

IntNSA Board Retreat 2021

The Board met (virtually) over two days (June 27; July 11) and we enjoyed full attendance.  The focus of the ‘Retreat’ was to consider next steps as IntNSA continues its transitional progress in establishing its new way of working.   The following are the key areas of discussion: 

Global Realignment

2021/2022 will be the year of ”transitions and new beginnings” for both the global board and the IntNSA-USA Board.  It is the intent of the Board that by April 2022, IntNSA, recognising its ‘international mission’ will have formally moved to a new global board structure (working title President’s Council); and IntNSA USA will have its own separate and self-governing Board.  

The Board was mindful of the challenges of governance a global as well as national organization, the unique issues facing the current and future Board, and the experiences of Directors who may serve on this President’s Council.   Hence taking the next 8 months (September thru April) was deemed important that the current Board remained in place to see through this transition, so that work which has started with our current IntNSA USA President’s ‘new framework’ would remain focussed and not be distracted, , and so the running of IntNSA’s day to day business was not disrupted.  It was further recognized that to maintain this stability, Board members who were due to step down this year would remain on the Board for 12 more months, therefore no ‘elections to the Board’ are required this year.   This decision was voted unanimously by the Board.    

Having held the first President’s Council (which had each President representing IntNSA country chapters) in June, the Board will be working with this group over the next 8 months and will be seeking to determine and draft a ‘new constitutional document’ which members will be invited to vote on. 

We will be asking this group when drafting the ‘new constitutional document’ to consider the following questions 

  1. Where are we on the journey to becoming a truly international Society, and is our Board properly shaped for our global mission? 
  2. How do we ensure the Society’s Mission ‘to be the global leader in addictions nursing’ reflects a global culture and mind-set?  A global mind-set needs to be reflected in everyday language used by the Society, for example, not using a “home country headquarters/rest of world” yardstick to assess Society plans and results.   
  3. How do we ensure we attract global talent to serve on our Board?  Research on how to build a successful ‘global organization’ suggests that at the senior level, global organizations do not hesitate to place executives from outside the home country in key positions, as opposed to having an executive team dominated by expatriates, and are comfortable with top leaders residing in various countries, rather than being centralized in one time zone. This approach helps break the headquarters-centric view.
  4. Associated with point 3 – what are the key skill sets of members of the President’s Council (i.e., the global board) and what support will this Board require to fulfil its objectives on behalf of members?
  5. How do we ensure that each IntNSA Country Chapter needs and issues are supported by the global entity?

A series of ‘working monthly meetings’ will be scheduled with the President’s Council commencing in September, Chaired by Dr Carmel Clancy (UK and current IntNSA President), and facilitated by Sue Newton (Canada and current Director at Large), and Dana Murphy-Parker (USA and current President-Elect).   The Council Members are: 

  • Kris Waite-Labott (President, IntNSA USA)
  • Tuxephoni Winson (President, IntNSA Canada)                               
  • John Flanagan (President, IntNSA Ireland)
  • Catherine Williams (President, IntNSA South Africa)
  • Masunga Iseselo (President, IntNSA Tanzania)
  • Adrian Jugdoyal (President, IntNSA UK)
  • Elizabeth Ogunbiyi (President, IntNSA Nigeria)
  • Renske Van Der Meer (President, IntNSA Netherlands)
  • Heloisa Garcia Claro (President, IntNSA Brazil)
  • Paulo Seabra (President, IntNSA Portugal) 

Observers

  • Charon Burda (Director at Large, USA) 
  • Oluremi Adejumo (Nigeria/USA Liaison)
  • Katherine Fornili (IntNSA Immediate Past President – USA, 2018-2020) 

Formation of IntNSA USA 

The Retreat also heard from our USA members who have been meeting regularly to take forward the plans to formalise the establishment of a separate and independent self-governing Board for IntNSA USA.  Led by Kris Waite-Labott, this group has been working steadily with our management company to formalise and establish IntNSA USA as a separate legal entity.  I am pleased to share Kris’s ‘first blog’ as IntNSA USA’s President, so that she can begin to introduce you to the work and plans of IntNSA USA and how she and her new Board will be seeking to grow and expand the work to address the needs of USA members.    

Financial Health

Our Treasurer Dr Susanne Fogger updated the Board on the ‘state of our financial health’. The good news is that IntNSA is financially stable, despite a turbulent year caused by Covid19.   In view of the proposed transition and strategic plans, Dr Fogger with an appointed consultant, undertook a major review of our finances so that as we move forward, we do so with a full understanding of our financial health and how to ensure ongoing stability as we grow.  Perhaps it will not surprise you to know that IntNSA has two main income streams, 50% of our revenue is generated via our Journal (Journal of Addictions Nursing – JAN) and 38% via membership dues (see figure 1).   A third revenue stream is usually associated with our annual conference but due to Covid19 we took the decision to offer a ‘free’ month long (Oct 2020) virtual conference.   Although IntNSA is financially stable, the Board acknowledged that diversifying and expanding opportunities to generate additional income are needed.   

The Board was also mindful that as IntNSA grows internationally, the monies generated by membership dues has inherent challenges, as there is clear disparity between the salaries of nurses across the globe (and indeed even within some countries subject to educational level).  The end result is that what is ‘affordable’ for some nurses is beyond the reach of others.   If IntNSA is to provide an equitable and accessible Society for all nurses, IntNSA needs to urgently address the question of what is ‘affordable’ while safeguarding the overall financial stability of the Society.   Dr Fogger will now be leading a working group specifically addressing a review of our ‘membership dues’ with the intent that the outcome of this review will be shared with the President’s Council and reflected in the new IntNSA Global Constitutional Document. 

Figure 1

In addition to the two main income streams, the Board agreed that greater consideration to generating multiple income streams needs attention.  A number of ideas were generated during the Retreat that may afford us greater opportunities, including enhanced focus on education and CEs.   With the establishment of our e-learning Platform – which has to date been primarily used for our virtual conference, the Board will be seeking to explore the development of an educational strategy.   Discussions have already begun with our FIAAN group –recognising their leadership and expertise across a variety of key areas.  Part of the plans will be to develop a series of webinars, offer opportunities for mentorship (particularly for our members who are in early/mid-career); coaching regarding career advice, etc. If you have any other suggestions or wish to be involved in these educational efforts, please contact us and share – IntNSA is ultimately a community of practice – with our members and for our members.   We would be delighted to hear from you if you have any suggestions/ideas to support our objectives.     

Finally, the Board also will be exploring opportunities to expand our grant funding.  We already enjoy success with our PCSS grant, but again, as the only international nursing society on addictions, plus our Specialty Affiliate status with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) we believe that we have a ‘great story to share’.  If you have grant writing skills, and would like to join us in this endeavour, please reach out.  Ideally, we will be seeking grant support in areas that support research, education, our conferences; and networking. 

Communications and Branding

The Retreat had a presentation led by Kris Waite-Labott and Sean Collinge on the need for IntNSA to address its overall communications protocols and branding. Key challenges that were highlighted in the presentation include the following:  

IntNSA Logo:  Logo variety is a problem that creates confusion for members, as there are multiple versions in use. For example, as State and Country Chapters developed, they “individualised” the standard logo.  While in theory ’having your own logo” enhances engagement, the Board recognised that there is a need to maintain a standardized approach for how reflecting “chapter identity” can be supported. 

Examples of how this might be achieved was shared – and the Board voted to adopt below – see IntNSA USA as a demonstration – this will now be shared with Chapters accompanied with a support package to bring logos into alignment.  

Membership and e-Learning Platform Website – both of these elements are not currently connected websites and require members to “log in” separately.  We understand that this can cause access challenges, so at the Retreat, the Board signed off for work to be undertaken to “connect” both platforms (at the backend).  This will not impact your membership status, but we trust this will facilitate ease of access.   ‘

While carrying out this work the Board also signed off work so that each Country Chapter (and State Chapter within the USA) will be given access to their chapter landing page so that they can edit/upload information and details for their own members.  This also offers the opportunity for Country Chapters to post information in their “mother tongue”. 

We hope that these changes will offer greater flexibility and accessibility, and will assist the Society in being more responsive to the needs of its members.  

Next IntNSA Global Conference 

Just a quick reminder that this year (2021) due to Covid19 we WILL NOT be holding an in-person conference.  We appreciate this will be a disappointment but given the ongoing concerns and travel restrictions it is best that we do not put any one at risk.  I am pleased to confirm that we still have ‘reservations’ with the Hotel in Calgary Canada for our next ‘IN PERSON’ conference now planned for October 2022 when life will have returned to the ‘new normal’ and we will be able to travel.   We will be putting together a new conference planning group in September – if you would like to be part of this group –please let us know.   

Great Opportunity – Free Training Course 

We have been notified by Dr Catherine Comiskey from Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, that she and colleagues are running a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) commencing 6th September via the FutureLearn Platform.   This course is targeted at Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare Practice.  It runs over 3 weeks. You can register now at the following link – click here.

Update on our PCSS Grant 

You may also be interested to take a read of Dana Murphy-Parker’s report on our PCSS Grant which has just be posted on our ‘news section’ (click here to read the report).  The International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA) submitted an application to be part of the PCSS coalitions in 2015 and has been active since 2015 in providing webinars for PCSS.  The Providers Clinical Support System (PSCC) provides mentoring and national education to healthcare professionals in the USA with the goal of providing evidence-based medicated-assisted treatment webinars for the care of patients who have opioid use disorders.  

Last thoughts…..

Quotes about Global connections (16 quotes)

IntNSA is an amazing community, and the Board is excited to take this journey over the next 12 months with you.  We hope that the changes will be seamless and that the impact will be enormous.   If there was ever a time to recognize that we are all connected, and that what happens in one country can and will have an impact in another, it is now!   

There will be no blog over August – to allow everyone time to relax and take time to rest. Look for the next President’s Blog in September.   Have a great summer everyone, and please stay well and safe. 

Dr Carmel Clancy

IntNSA President 

July 2021  

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