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Ottawa Chapter News

Hello Ontario Family Practice Nurses, Ottawa Chapter!!


It is with greater pleasure that I introduce myself to you as I take on the role of President of the Ottawa Chapter of the Ontario Family Practice Nurses' Interest Group. I have been a member of this group for nearly 26 years now and can't begin to tell you how belonging to this organization has supported me in my nursing career. As a new RN coming from Sudbury, where I completed my BScN at Laurentian University, to the city of Ottawa, joining this group was, without a doubt, one of the best resources I could have found. I have been working with family physicians and a variety of allied healthcare professionals during my career and I find the work both challenging and rewarding. Needless to say, after working in this setting for just over a quarter of a century, I guess you could say I love what I do. There have been a multitude of changes, over the years, with the delivery of primary care services, and the content of what we need to know seems to be growing at an expediential rate. I have found the OFPN to be a wealth of information and support as I try to encompass all that it is to be a nurse in primary care.


No group can be successful without the assistance and input from a variety of its members. I am very happy to inform you that we do have a great group of nurses that are committed to the executive for the next 2 year term. Here is your executive:

President: Dianne Friske
Past President: Doreen O'Sullivan
Membership Officer: Barbara  Whalen
Secretary: Margaret Moreland
Treasurer: Jo Williamson
Correspondence Officer: Sandra Weagant
Social Media Officer: Louise Asselin
Vice President: currently vacant
Please feel free to approach any of the executive with any thoughts or concerns and we will be happy to address them. As you can see we are in need of at least one more executive member. Should anyone be thinking about joining us, please do!


Lastly, we have been working on the education sessions for this year and will be posting them on our face book page. Please look us up and like us. We still "under construction" as we learn to utilize this tool, so please bear with us and expect improvements shortly.

Please save the following dates and join us as often as you can:
Mar 20, 2017: Education session @ the Ottawa Catholic School Board Office(OCSBO)
May 15, 2017: Dinner meeting for Nurses' Week(OCSBO)
Oct 14,2017: PD Day at St. Elias Center
Nov 13, 2017: CPR recertification
We may also add a June and Sept meeting if we can secure speakers.


I truly am looking forward to speaking with you at our meetings and learning more about what your needs as a family practice nurses' are. I have been, and will continue to be, in contact with Sheena Howard, President of the OFPN, and will ensure any thoughts or concerns you have are brought forth.
Please encourage any of your colleagues to come out and join us for any of our meetings or for the PD Day!

See you soon,
Dianne Friske, RN
President, Ottawa Chapter, OFPN
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Guidelines for the Establishment of a New Chapter

The OFPN bylaws state:


38 1. Formation
(a) Chapters may be formed upon formal application with the approval of the Executive Committee of the OFPN.
(b) The minimum number required to establish or maintain the Chapter shall be 10 members.
(c) Chapters shall have objectives and bylaws compatible with those of the affiliate group.

2. Dissolution
The Executive Committee may, if it considers it in the best interests of the Chapter to do so, dissolve any Chapter if:
  (a) such a Chapter ceases at any time to have the minimum number of members of the group therein; or
  (b) the majority of the Chapter members of such a Chapter has indicated in writing to the Executive Committee their desire to dissolve the Chapter

3. Area and Name
  (a) Chapters shall correspond to RNAO regional areas.
  (b) the name of such Chapter shall indicate the area they represent.

4. Funding
  (a) A fixed per capita refund of membership fees determined annually by the Executive Committee shall be returned to the Chapter.
  (b) Upon dissolution of the Chapter, remaining funds shall be returned to the Treasurer of the Ontario group.
(c) There is start-up funding available from the Provincial organization



Getting Started:
1. invite a core group of 5 or 6 people to your home or at your workplace to plan your first meeting. You may want to appoint a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer for an interim executive.
2. establish the location of the first meeting and the goals of the evening: e.g. to socialize and establish interest, to collect membership fees, and/or to have a speaker on an interesting topic common to Family Practice Nursing. Send out notices of this meeting to all Family Physicians offices, Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres in your area or contact them by telephone. In order to keep costs at a minimum, the meeting might be located at a conference room of a hospital, community health center, family practice center, or a large waiting room that would hold about 30 people. (Usually arrangements can be made for free use of these areas) Often speakers don’t charge but as the group becomes established you may wish to offer an honorarium or a donation to the charity of their choice. Sometimes funds are available through drug reps in your area.
3. Approach your employers and ask for support in starting your group, either through a cash donation or use of office supplies to send out your first notices.
4. It may well be that your potential Chapter members are not interested in regular meetings, but would rather organize a local workshop with local speakers. Assistance (both financial and advice) are available.

Application for Chapter Status
Application to the OFPN Executive Committee for Chapter status may be made in writing by emailing the OFPN executive at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject heading "Chapter Application".

Name of Chapter
The name should reflect the area the Chapter represents.


The group may establish its own executive structure and terms of office. Suggested positions are president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, newsletter, programme, membership, social convener. The OFPN financial/membership year runs November 1 to October 31, and it is a good idea to align with these dates for local terms of office.


Any nurse with an interest in family practice/office nursing/primary care may join the group. OFPN is an associate interest group of the RNAO, and we encourage our members to belong to, and pay their fees through that organization, although it is not required. Membership forms are available from the Executive Committee and may be reproduced for the chapter’s use. OFPN membership fees collected are divided between the Chapter, the Provincial OFPN and the Canadian Family Practice Nurses Association.


The group uses the logo of the OFPN on all of the group’s forms and correspondence. The logo depicts caring hands cradling the family in the world.


OFPN publishes a newsletter at least twice a year in which the Chapter may publish their activities. The Chapter may wish to produce its own newsletters announcing plans. We are in the process of setting up an OFPN website which also may be used.

Dissolution of the Chapter

The Chapter may dissolve if the OFPN Executive Committee deems that the requirements of the bylaws are not being met or the Chapter group requests in writing that the group be dissolved. All remaining funds of the Chapter shall be forwarded to the Provincial Treasurer of OFPN.

Proposed Name Change Backgrounder

Dear OFPN Members


Before I stood for president of OFPN, I spent time learning about the history of OFPN. What I heard was that OFPN was created during a time when much of the media attention, and the political, governmental, and organizations concerned with health care were focused on hospital care and associated outcomes. Nurses in family practice often worked in isolation, and had little access to educational opportunities. OFPN was formed to give those nurses a chance to network with others across the province and to give them access to relevant, evidence-based educational sessions. This is the legacy that those strong RNs gave to our membership and to this day, networking and educational opportunities continue to be one of OFPNs overall goals.

Fast forward to 2016. The Ontario government, with its proposed Patients First legislation, has positioned Primary Care as the anchor of the health care system. This legislation will land the anchor right into the working hands and minds of the Primary Care teams in Ontario. The RNAO has had significant input into this shift in their ECCO Report (RNAO, 2014) that was released a few years ago. Indeed, Health Minister Hoskins indicated that the Ministry drew heavily from ECCO when drafting this legislation. Primary Care nurses will continue working in Primary Care funding models (Virani, 2012), which are to be held more accountable in the years to come as the models and frameworks that will anchor Ontario’s health care system. Nurses who work in Primary Care in Ontario can be at the forefront of ensuring accountability for our patients, if we are seen as knowledge leaders who hold considerable intellectual capital. A change in our organization’s name, to include the concept of Primary Care, will increase our visibility as nurses who are working within Primary Care models. A name change will more accurately account for more of the nursing roles that our members engage in, of which nursing in Family Practice is one of many.

As the system begins this shift, it is OFPN Executives’ belief that nurses working in Primary Care need to be recognized as nurses who provided specialized generalist care (Oandasan, 2010). While nursing roles in Primary Care are poorly understood by physicians, some NPs and the public (Virani, 2012), we must combat our current lack of visibility (Virani, 2012) as knowledge leaders, with a name that will receive recognition and aligns with the current and future vision of health care in Ontario. Our organization can capitalize on this health care system shift by aligning our name with the current political, legislative and public discourse as it relates to Primary Care. A name change that includes the words “Primary Care” will allow us to be easily recognizable as experts in our field who hold considerable intellectual capital as it relates to Primary Care (CNA, 2014). When we are seen as knowledge leaders in Primary Care, whose name aligns with current discourse, we can then begin to effectively advocate for our SATTs (Seats At The Tables of Primary Care decision making), our need for equitable compensation, role articulation and optimization, and also, our visibility within the local, and provincial health care organizations and funding models. A name change that includes “Primary Care”, will allow us to advocate more effectively and with greater understanding on the part of decisions makers, as Primary Care is now common vernacular within the health care systems we work in, and the public we serve.

Further, as the anchor shifts to Primary Care, our organization (indeed Primary Care in general) needs to be able to effectively recruit, retain and advocate for all of the 4000 primary care nurses in Ontario. As leaders in Primary Care we must validate, support and mentor new nurses and nursing students in their choice of Primary Care Nursing as a valued and fulfilling nursing career choice. The OFPN Executive believes a change in name will support these ends.

With the increase in demand in and on Primary Care with the health care shift related to the Patients First legislation, we urge you to hold space in your mind and heart for the information shared here. We encourage you to remember our history, and also consider our future in the context of the shift in health care. We understand that, for some, making the decision to change our name might be difficult. We understand that, for some, it may be easy. The OFPN Executive invites your input, feedback, questions or comments. We look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for your time and consideration of this backgrounder.

With warm thanks,
Sheena Howard, RN, BScN, MA(c)References


  1. Canadian Nurses Association (CNA). (2014). Optimizing the Role of Nurses in Primary Care in Canada. Final Report
  2. Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. (2015). Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care
  3. Oandasan, I. F., Hammond, M., Conn, L. G., Callahan, S., Gallinaro, A., & Moaveni, A. (2010). Family practice registered nurses: The time has come. Canadian Family Physician, 56(10), e375-e382.
  4. Registered Nurses Assocation of Ontario (RNAO). (2014). ECCO 2.0. Enhancing Community Care for Ontarians
  5. Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO). Primary Care Nurse Task Force. (2012). Primary Solutions for Primary Care: Maximizing and Expanding the Role of the Primary Care Nurse in Ontario. 
  6. Virani, T. (2012). Interprofessional collaborative teams. Ottawa: Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. 


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