The provincial government's top nurse Anne Sutherland Boal has resigned, Public Eye has learned. In an email sent out to health ministry staff yesterday, deputy minister Penny Ballem announced British Columbia's chief nursing executive, "will be leaving the Ministry at the end of the summer as, after almost four years, Anne has determined that living in Coquitlam, working in Victoria, and commuting to China has lost its charm. As such, in September, she will be rejoining her husband in Shanghai to continue their adventures in the Middle Kingdom." The following is a complete copy of that email.
It is with regret that I announce that Anne Sutherland Boal will be leaving the Ministry at the end of the summer as, after almost four years, Anne has determined that living in Coquitlam, working in Victoria, and commuting to China has lost its charm. As such, in September she will be rejoining her husband in Shanghai to continue their adventures in the Middle Kingdom.
Anne was recruited from China in 2001 into the new position of Chief Nurse Executive within the Ministry of Health Planning. The position was created to reflect the important work that nurses contribute to the health system, and Anne's task was to work with partners and stakeholders to develop and implement policies and strategies to assist with the recruitment, retention, and education of the province's registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, and licensed practical nurses.
During her time with the Ministry, the Nursing Directorate was formed, over $63 million in funding was allocated to strategies which saw the creation of over 2100 new nursing seats added by the Ministry of Advanced Education, and, through the Ministry of Health Nursing Directorate, over 6000 nurses were supported for specialty education, 850 nurses were provided grants to assist them to complete refresher courses and return to the workplace while 800 LPNs were provided funding to complete courses so that they might work to their full scope of practice. Many new and innovative projects were implemented including the province-wide Undergraduate Nurse Employment program; the only one of its kind in the country.
On the policy front there were three important achievements: in 2002 the move to baccalaureate preparation as the entry to practice requirement for registered nurses; innovative policy discussions held in 2004 between the Nurses' Bargaining Association and the Health Employers Association of British Columbia which Anne chaired; and, anticipated in the summer of 2005, the approval of the regulatory framework that will allow Nurse Practitioners to be regulated and employed in the province.
In addition to her nursing responsibilities and in the capacity of Assistant Deputy Minister, Clinical Innovation and Integration, Anne has led a number of other initiatives within the Ministry including being project director for the implementation of the Fair PharmaCare Program, the Ministry lead for the renewal of the British Columbia Ambulance Service, including the recruitment of a new Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the service, and a Memorandum of Agreement between the Emergency Health Services Commission and CUPE 873, and the Co-Chair and Co-Founder of the provincial Patient Safety Task Force.
I would like to thank Anne for her significant contributions to the Ministry, to nursing in the province and to the system redesign projects that she led.
On a personal note, I will miss her greatly, as will all the Executive Team. As our Chief Nurse "In Residence" she has been a wonderful team player and has brought all the compassion and nurturing so characteristic of her profession to our Executive table. She also brought candies and other delicacies, which probably weren't on the ActNow agenda, but which allowed us to make it through some of our marathon sessions, discussing difficult and complex public policy issues so characteristic of our Ministry. She has been a wonderful friend to all of us and a tremendous support to me. We will all miss her and we know that many, many nurses around the province will be very sad to see her go. She has been an outstanding leader for nursing. Please join me in wishing Anne the very best for her future endeavours.
I will begin recruiting for a replacement for the position of Chief Nurse Executive/ADM Clinical Innovation and Integration, and information on those details will be forthcoming in the near future.
Penny Ballem, MD
Ministry of Health