August 2022

CNO committees an “eye-opening” experience

“Outside my comfort zone.” That’s what several new College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) committee members said, when reflecting on their first few weeks in their roles. In spite of this sentiment, past and present committee members alike highly recommend making this leap into a new kind of nursing leadership, citing the opportunities it brings.

Each year, CNO’s Council (or board) appoints Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs), from all practice areas and with diverse expertise, to sit on our committees. Working together with government-appointed members of the public, they make key decisions that affect patient safety and regulate nursing in Ontario.

In May, we chatted with a few incoming members of the Discipline and Fitness to Practise committees about what they were most looking forward to. This month, we followed up with Patricia Nowicka-Bujko, RPN, to find out how the experience is going so far. She says being on the committee has been an “eye opener” — and a rewarding one.

“There is a learning curve, both personally and professionally,” Nowicka-Bujko says. “It has been eye-opening, how this is a special opportunity to have an impact for those who need us — patients and their families — but in a committee role. It gives me a sense of pride to be able to help and use my nursing experience to make this profession safer for the public.”

Every fall, CNO invites nurses to join our committees (look for more information in the next issue of The Standard). No prior experience is necessary and we encourage nurses from all practice areas to apply.

When we asked Council President Naomi Thick to reflect on her start in nursing regulation, she acknowledged that taking that first step is the scariest. “But, it’s important to go for it. Just put your hat in the ring!” says Thick. 

Like Nowicka-Bujko, Thick recalled a learning curve for herself, too. “When I first got involved in regulation — as a committee member in 2017 — I don't think I really understood. I knew CNO did our registration and that they set the standards... but I did not have a full grasp on the diversity of the work — from approving education programs to the quality improvement process,” she says.

Asked if she would recommend joining a committee to other nurses, Nowicka-Bujko would recommend this growth opportunity “highly.”

“As humans, we’re always learning,” she says. “Nursing, as a profession, is always evolving. It requires a high level of professionalism. I’ve been learning so much from my peers on the committee — both nurses and public members.”

You can learn more about the work our committees do on our Committee page. We recruit new nurses for our committees every fall, so, if you’re thinking about getting involved, watch our short video series to learn more and read the next issue of The Standard.

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