2020 CAHNference Highlights

Rising to the challenge took on a whole new meaning for CAHN’s volunteer event planning committee with the decision to go virtual for our regional event. Nurses are renowned for stepping up in the face of adversity and crisis but planning a webinar…this was a new type of challenge!

With the glitches ironed out, CAHNference 2020 was a resounding success with great speakers, inspiring educational content, engaging conversation and happy door prize winners. Thank you to the CAHNference 2020 Planning Committee.

CAHNference 2020 Planning Committee – Dennaye Fuchs, Sarah De Couture, Lesley Gallagher, Donna Zukowski and Elizabeth Lee

The conference kicked off Friday evening with three sessions discussing the opioid crisis. From safe supply in Ontario to Cool Aid’s progressive work in B.C. and opening a safe injection site in Saskatchewan; delegates learned how nurses across Canada are facing this ongoing health care crisis during the global pandemic.

Friday ended with CAHN’s first-ever virtual mixer. CAHN members consistently express their fondness for networking during CAHN’s events and so our planning committee strived to deliver a fun and engaging virtual mixer. Our group leaders asked participants to discuss fun pandemic topics such as Hoarding 101 and Skills Developed During Isolation. Scroll down to read what participants had to say.

Our first session on Saturday opened with psychologist Dr. Dayna Lee-Baggley speaking on Behavioural Change and Motivational Interviewing. In this enlightening presentation, she described the physiology behind why humans find healthy behaviour so difficult, and why it is critical for health care providers to understand a patient’s readiness for change. Dr. Lee-Baggley introduced an easy to follow analogy of using a traffic light to assist in determining a patient’s level of readiness. She stressed allowing patients to express themselves in a non-judgemental environment is key.

Dr. Lee-Baggley’s presentation was the perfect segue into Dr. Magnus McLeod’s quick and logical approach to a simple clinical care pathway for the diagnosis of fatty liver disease. His take-home message was that fatty liver is a BIG problem, frequently presenting with little to no symptoms. Following a clinical care pathway, taking risk factors into account, can help determine when to refer to a specialist.  

Dr. Edward Tam presented us with great information on how to manage fatty liver disease. His overview of current practices and the difficulty researchers are having in finding a medication that will work tied in nicely with the lessons taught by Dr. Lee-Baggley on helping patients work on healthy lifestyle changes. Dr. Tam highlighted many exciting agents being developed and the impressive research happening in this field.

One of the best successes of CAHNference 2020 was the abundance of nurses who came forward to present their case studies and models of care. We saw nurse-led models of care for a mobile outreach program in Halifax, a provincial corrections program in Ottawa, and a “seek and treat” HCV program in Calgary; as well as case studies on hepatitis C, transplants and fatty liver. Thank you to all who contributed. If you are interested in presenting your work at a future event, please email admin@cahn.ca.

CAHNference 2020 concluded with a series of videos sent to us by our members showing how COVID-19 has impacted their working and personal lives. These videos were the perfect segue to the final presentation of the day – CAHN’s very own COVID-19 Nurse Study. The survey results were presented by members of the study team at the end of the conference on Saturday. Thank you, once again, to all who participated in this study; your contributions were sincerely appreciated.

Virtual Mixer Highlights

Coffee was the number one item that made participants panic at the thought of going without. Some bought toilet paper out of peer pressure but concern for a shortage of PPE and mask supplies was expressed by all.

During isolation, participants learned how to bake bread, grow food, and that raising chickens is not as simple as it sounds.

Homeschooling was a challenge for those forced to do it. Some gave up, while others powered through but all agree – teachers are the best!

Gratitude was expressed for friends supporting each other, technology allowing us to connect ‘virtually’, life slowing down, essential service workers, and the ability to roam in outdoor spaces.

Congratulations to our prize winners!

Door prize giveaways have been a fun feature of CAHN’s past several Regional Events. This tradition started as an expression of gratitude for CAHN’s delegates and a means for highlighting our generous sponsors. 2020 brought on new meaning for the door prize giveaway. With businesses hit hard by COVID19 CAHN’s planning committee was inspired to support locally owned businesses across Canada. We would like to share this moving message from one of those business owners.

“In these disruptive times, purchases like the one you just made carry more weight and meaning than they did a year ago. You’ve chosen to support art, to support a local maker, to support your own mental well-being or that of a loved one. Whatever your motive, I appreciate you and am grateful.”

Congratulations to all our prize winners and best wishes of success to local businesses nationwide!