NSDA Newsletter - December 2020
As we wrap up 2020 and reflect on what a year it has been, I’m sure we can all agree that it has certainly been quite a year. Beginning with last spring’s AGM, the Board has moved entirely virtual – board meetings, training, orientation and strategic planning have all taken place over Zoom. And with this shift to the virtual world, we continue to regulate dietitians and nutritionists to practice in a safe, ethical and competent manner, with public interest being the focus of what we do.
In addition to facing a global pandemic, 2020 also highlighted the continued systemic racism that exists in our society. There is a call to action for all of us to think about what we need to continue to learn and understand that affects our practice, and as a regulatory, what is this call asking us to do. This past September saw the board spend time revisiting and reaffirming NSDA’s mission, vision and values, as well as take stock of where we are in relation to our 2017 Strategic Plan. As part of this exercise, time was spent considering the current context, and this led the board to update our existing strategic directions.
Strategic Direction 1: Equity Diversity and Inclusion
- Integrate the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion into NSDA's board governance and operations.
- Collaborate with others to identify strategic interventions to enhance the cultural safety and competency of our operational processes.
- Promote cultural competency as a standard of practice for dietitians and nutritionists in Nova Scotia.
Strategic Direction 2: Regulation of Practice
- Establish a strategy for the board to influence the timely proclamation of the Act and the transition to a college.
- Develop preceptor competencies.
- Enhance the Continuing Competency Program.
Strategic Direction 3: Governance Excellence
- Develop a recruitment framework and implement an effective recruitment strategy for the NSDA board.
Strategic Direction 1: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion - While the Board begins to understand how to truly consider what will be required to take action on equity, diversity and inclusion as a regulatory body, we also see our role in promoting cultural competency as a standard of practice for dietitians and nutritionists. NSDA’s Standards of Practice, standards #4 (Client-centered services) and #6 (communications) both outline expectations. I encourage all dietitians and nutritionists to reflect on these standards and the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, and what this means to you in your practice. Consider what areas you might need to build your understanding and competence in. As well, this topic will be the focus of the AGM education session this coming spring. I invite you to hold the date for a virtual AGM. The AGM is scheduled for May 19 from 6-8 p.m. via Zoom.
Strategic Direction 2: Regulation of Practice - As you all well know, as a profession, we have been waiting for the proclamation of the Dietitians Act (2009) for quite some time. Since July, two letters have been sent to the Minister of Health. In the first letter, we expressed the need for the act to be proclaimed. We highlighted the significant impacts that this delayed proclamation is having on public protection, the health system, NSDA as a regulatory body, and certainly to dietitians and nutritionists. We followed up with a second letter restating the journey and history over the past number of years, and again calling for the proclamation of the Dietitians Act to be a priority for Government. We continue to work with and liaise with Government and are planning to share an update with NSDA registrants early in the new year.
Strategic Direction 3: Governance Excellence - As per our usual governance processes, orientation was held with new board members this fall. The Board continues to focus on governance excellence, and as outlined above, the development and implementation of a recruitment strategy as the focus of the Nominations Committee. The Nova Scotia Regulated Health Professions Network hosted a virtual governance workshop, of which two board members were able to attend.
I would like to take a minute to thank the Board of Directors and staff for their continued involvement and commitment to the work of NSDA. I wish everyone a peaceful end to the year that was 2020, and all the best over the holiday season.
Sarah MacDonald, PDt