Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX Rankin School of Nursing honours student in leadership role with College of Registered Nurses Council

September 17th, 2018
L-r, Fourth year StFX Rankin School of Nursing honours student and College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia (CRNNS) student representative Layla Green is pictured at the CRNNS AGM with Rankin School nurse educator Wendy Panagopoulos; StFX Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Cathy MacDonald; Yvonne Fraser, placement coordinator/nurse educator; nursing faculty Dr. Joanne Witty Rogers; and Rankin School Assistant Director Dr. Debbie Sheppard-LeMoine.

It’s been a terrific time of learning about and contributing to her chosen profession for Layla Green, a fourth year honours Rankin School of Nursing student from Falmouth, NS, who has taken on a leadership role with the College of Registered Nurses Council (CRNNS).

Ms. Green is the representative for all Nova Scotia nursing students on the CRNNS.

“Ever since my first year in the program I’ve been drawn to the public health aspect of nursing, and how the profession intersects with other departments in our government to keep the public safe,” Ms. Green says. 

“The CRNNS is our governing body, meaning that we not only get our licenses through them, but they are charged with monitoring our practice, keeping it up-to-date and ethical, and ultimately keeping the public safe by ensuring the highest quality of nursing and care. Being able to see behind the screen at how some of these decisions are made and even potentially add a student/upcoming nurse’s perspective on a few issues really intrigued me into pursuing this role.”

Rankin School Assistant Director Dr. Debbie Sheppard-LeMoine says the nursing school is very proud of Ms. Green for taking on this role. “Layla is making a significant contribution as the only Nova Scotia student on the CRNNS council. She is the student voice with our regulating body who grants licenses to all practicing nurses in Nova Scotia,” she says.

Ms. Green says at the end of her second year, several nursing professors brought her name up as a potential candidate and she subsequently applied and was appointed to the two-year student position on council, which rotates between Nova Scotia nursing schools.  

Ms. Green started the position last fall. Four times a year she attends council meetings where they discuss various items from policies that need to be examined to news of interest from across the world that they may want to look at incorporating into their own policy/practice, she says. 

“There is also discussion on how to best train and retain nurses in Nova Scotia, a topic which I’ve been able to contribute to being a student myself, and looking towards the future of being employed in Nova Scotia.” 

She says her main role is to offer insight that a current student might be able to provide and to consider the concerns her peers may have regarding various issues and bring those to the table. 

“I am likely to be the last student representative on the council for CRNNS as we are moving towards a One Nurse Regulator for the province, which will be a joining of the RN college and the LPN college. This has been the focus of much of the council’s work over the last year I’ve been on council and I must say it has been an amazing experience watching the dedication of the now-former president Ruth Whelan and current president Charmaine McPherson, as well as CEO Sue Smith and the rest of the council who have put so much of their time into this new and exciting direction for nursing in our province,” Ms. Green says.

She says the experience has made her more aware of the political side of the profession, and the hard work that goes on often behind the scenes to create a structured, fair, and supportive resource for nurses across the province. 

“While the main goal of the CRNNS is to ensure public safety, this must involve the just regulation of its nurses, and to do so with the proactive and inviting manner with which the council has shown me is truly something I aspire to,” she says. “After attending the Annual General Meeting and awards banquet last May as a council member, I feel I now fully appreciate the strong voice the nursing community carries throughout our province, and the wonderful work that we can achieve by exercising that power to create positive change. I don’t think I had ever been more proud of the profession I am entering into and it truly reinforced that I was on the right track at this point in my life.”

Ms. Green says the position is one of many opportunities she’s had at StFX. It is hard to pin down exactly how much StFX and the Rankin School Of Nursing have influenced her over the last three years, she says, as she’s had so many wonderful role models and opportunities simply by being here. 

STFX GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND

“I feel that the university experience in general tends to make you grow as a person, but StFX has gone above and beyond for me in that regard. I have been able to push myself as a leader even in first year by being on the Lane Hall House Council and the Equity and Diversity Committee on campus, then as a member of the StFX Nursing Society, and now through the CRNNS. 

“Academically, I’ve been encouraged to pursue more than I thought I was capable, currently pursuing an honours degree that three years ago seemed a daunting task. Being at a smaller university in an even smaller program, I now recognize everyone in my classes and have made friends I know I will have for life, and without whom I don’t know I’d be able to do half of the things I do. 

“If StFX and the School Of Nursing has taught me anything it’s that if you surround yourself with people who support you and you make those crucial connections with profs and other role models, then you can do pretty much anything you set your mind to, corny as that sounds.”

Ms. Green is currently working on research with one of her professors, Dr. Donna Halperin, and she says she would love to continue working on that project in some regard post-graduation. This past summer she had the opportunity to do a co-operative learning placement in the Annapolis Valley working on a maternal/child unit with new moms, babies and children. “After working there for two months, I can easily say I would love to work with this population again. I know that while I plan on getting hands-on experience for a few years after graduation, I still plan on staying involved with our governing body in some fashion and will always be connected to that side of our profession as my practice progresses.”

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