Reflections on Life During the Pandemic — Looking Back and Moving ForwardA Message from CAHN President, Donna Zukowski

Greetings everyone and welcome to 2021 and CAHN’s first newsletter of the year.

A reflection on the year 2020 elicits a variety of thoughts and emotions. All of us have different experiences we could relate about this unusual year. Staying at home, mental health and poverty are all challenges presenting in various ways depending on your situation and access to resources. As nurses, we know these have implications for ourselves and for the patients/people we work with. Ultimately though, we all continue to hope this New Year will bring positive changes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has, without a doubt, affected every person around the globe in varying ways and degrees of continuing hardships. The Public Health directive to “stay home, stay safe” has become a conflicting mantra for many people. Staying home was critical to keep people and communities safe from the spread of the virus; however, family and work situations affect the ability of people to abide by this order. Also, not everyone has the stability of a safe home. Single and dual parents living in crowded conditions, and home-schooling their children, face all sorts of unique challenges; they may now also be either working from home or unemployed. Homeless and impoverished people have seemingly insurmountable hurdles to face with provincial lockdowns and many overwhelmed health care systems. Long-term care residents were the most harshly impacted within their homes. Access to, or lack of, access to health care resources changed overnight. From my own experience as a child, if there had been a pandemic with schools closed, it would have presented extreme hardships for me. School was where we warmed up and accessed food. School was where there were mentors who offered support, encouragement and fun. School was safe and essential. Poverty has always been a factor within health care determinants; however, the pandemic has given greater visibility to resulting inequities.

Mental health struggles are real, and the emotional well-being of nurses has been challenged as never before. In CAHN’s COVID-19 survey of our membership, completed during the summer of 2020, 81% of respondents reported levels of stress in their personal lives: 59% reporting moderate to severe levels, 22% reporting extreme levels of stress. Interestingly, CAHN’s survey results are in line with international nursing statistics. The sheer scale of patient mortality and workload, nurses being deployed to other settings, the inability to provide the care you know is needed, along with personal exhaustion, safety fears and worries about our loved ones — this all impacts our ability to remain mentally healthy.

For many there is light at the end of a long tunnel. Vaccines and continuing advancements in the understanding and treatment of COVID-19 offers hope on the horizon! Globally the goal is to have two billion vaccines delivered by the end of 2021. The International Council of Nurses CEO, Howard Catton, said “… vaccinating the people of the world is the public health equivalent of landing someone on the moon.”

Changing the direction of my reflections to now look forward to CAHN’s educational plans for this year — I am really excited about the upcoming Canadian Liver Meeting and AGM this May and look forward to seeing everyone again virtually! The pandemic has challenged us to come up with new and innovative ways of networking and delivering education to our hepatology nurses. CAHN has risen to this challenge and virtual learning has in fact increased access to education for many nurses who were unable to afford the time or expense of attending conferences in person. Thank you to Danae and the 2020 conference planning committee who demonstrated resilience, expertise and innovation to deliver virtually. Although many of us look forward to in-person networking again sometime soon, we expect access to virtual education will continue to be a valuable resource.

New for this year, CAHN will be trialling bi-monthly webinars on various hepatology topics of interest. I encourage each and every one of you to consider volunteering to give a talk about your area of practice, or to submit topics of interest you feel would be helpful in your practice. We love to hear from our membership, and we also look forward to seeing you at the webinars. Contact admin@cahn.ca to request a topic or volunteer as a speaker.

This past year, there have been unprecedented (2020’s word of the year) challenges for all health care professionals seeking to meet the health care needs of their clients and patients, while still remaining healthy themselves. Amidst the uncertainty of the impacts of the virus, fears of new variants, and an unknown endpoint, nurses have remained the backbone in supporting health care in virtually every setting within the health care system. We all continue to live and to manage the impacts of the pandemic, while hoping for a positive change in direction this year. The WHO designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, I believe 2021 should be “Kindness and Thankyou to Nurses Worldwide”!


2021 CAHN Member Benefits

CAHN is pleased to continue supporting members with a variety of reimbursement and educational benefits. Our usual Conference Travel Reimbursement policy is on hold while travelling and gathering restrictions are in place due to COVID-19. The following NEW membership benefits will replace the travel benefits for 2021:

  • Reimbursement of 100% of the Canadian Association of the Study of the Liver (CASL) membership fee at the CAHN rate of $200. Keep reading to learn the benefits of a CASL membership.
  • Reimbursement of 100% of the Canadian Liver Meeting (CLM) registration fee. Keep reading to learn more about the CLM.
  • Reimbursement of 50% of the registration fee for a virtual educational event that contributes to your practice, up to $100. Click here for eligibility requirements.
  • Access to CAHNference Bytes – CAHN’s new bi-monthly educational video series. Keep reading to learn more.
  • Access to attend CAHNference 2021 – planned for the fall of 2021. This is to be a virtual or hybrid event depending on public health regulations and guidelines at that time.

All CAHN members continue to receive:

The cost of membership is $75. Become a member or renew your membership.

Benefits of a CASL Membership

Every year, since the inception of the CLM, CAHN members have been invited to join CASL as a Full Member at a reduced fee ($200 instead of $300). This year CAHN will pay the fee for you! As a Full CASL Member you will receive:

  • Access to funding through awards, operating grants, and studentship funding opportunities.
  • A reduced registration fee to the CASL Single Topic Conference and other CME Programs.
  • Free subscription to Annals of Hepatology.
  • No charge to submit articles to the Canadian Liver Journal, CASL’s new online, open-access publication, and discounted pay-to-publish fees. 

To qualify for CASL membership reimbursement a member must:

  • Be an active CAHN member on May 1, 2021.
  • Join CASL before May 1, 2021.
  • Attend CAHN’s virtual program at the Canadian Liver Meeting on May 2-4, 2021.
  • Attend CAHN’s virtual Annual General Meeting on May 4, 2021.
  • Complete CAHN’s CLM nurse program evaluation form by May 26, 2021.
  • Submit a receipt to CAHN using the online reimbursement form by May 26, 2021.

To become a CASL member click here. Be sure to choose the “CAHN” option at the payment section of the form to receive your reduced rate and keep your receipt for future reimbursement.

2021 Canadian Liver Meeting

Presenting the 4th annual Canadian Liver Meeting (CLM) virtually on May 2 to May 5, 2021.

The CLM is a unique collaborative meeting of the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver (CASL), the Canadian Network on Hepatitis C (CanHepC) and the Canadian Association of Hepatology Nurses (CAHN). It provides an incredible opportunity for our colleagues to share what is happening in the field of liver health through various liver-focused organizations.

Visit www.canadianlivermeeting.ca for more information and to register.

CAHN’S CLM Program

CLM Reimbursement for Members

This year CAHN members will be reimbursed their CASL membership fee ($200) plus their CLM registration fee ($50 for CAHN/CASL members or $200 for non-CASL members).

To qualify for CLM registration reimbursement a member must:

  • Be an active CAHN member on May 1, 2021.
  • Attend CAHN’s virtual program at the Canadian Liver Meeting on May 2-4, 2021.
  • Attend CAHN’s virtual Annual General Meeting on May 4, 2021.
  • Complete CAHN’s CLM nurse program evaluation form by May 26, 2021.
  • Submit a receipt to CAHN using the online reimbursement form by May 26, 2021.

CAHN Annual General Meeting

CAHN’s 2021 AGM will be held virtually on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, during the Canadian Liver Meeting. You must be an active member by May 1, 2021, to attend the AGM. Attendance at the AGM is required for reimbursement benefits.

*** Click here to register for CAHN’s 2021 Annual General Meeting.***

Call for Nominations

Nominate yourself, or a nurse you know, to sit on CAHN’s Board of Directors (2 seats opening for 2021) or to serve as President.  Nominees will be elected by a majority membership vote on May 4 at the 2021 AGM.

CAHN is also taking nominations for Treasurer, Secretary, Education Chair, Conference Co-Chair, and Standards & Competencies Chair. These positions will be appointed by the Board of Directors at the June 2021 board meeting.

Each position is a two-year term. Click here to read the role descriptions and responsibilities or contact admin@cahn.ca.

Click here to nominate yourself or another CAHN member.

Awards and Recognition

A highlight of every AGM is the Recognition Ceremony. Please nominate a nurse you know. 

Award categories are Rising Star, Distinguished Service, Innovation & Inspiration, Exceptional Contribution, Achievement and Lifetime Achievement. Click here to learn more.

CAHNference Bytes

Announcing CAHN’s new bi-monthly educational video series, CAHNference Bytes! Leading up to CAHNference 2021, enjoy these informative, “bite-sized” videos to enhance your nursing practice. Free for all CAHN members. Click here to join CAHN.

Please join our host, Elizabeth Lee, for Gillian Gray’s presentation on Workplace Resiliency and Mental Health mid-March. The date, time and registration link will be emailed to members next week.

Welcome New Board Member

The board and executive committee would like to thank Dennaye Fuchs for her contribution to CAHN’s board over the past year. Although Dennaye has resigned from the board we are grateful that she has chosen to remain in her position as Conference Co-Chair to help plan CLM 2021.

Anna DeWolff, CAHN’s Membership & Communications Chair, has graciously agreed to fill in as board of director for the remainder of Dennaye’s term. Welcome, Anna!

Membership Activities

Welcome to all new members!

We are pleased you have joined CAHN and look forward to supporting your professional and educational growth as a hepatology nurse. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact either admin@cahn.ca or the CAHN membership representative annadewolff@hotmail.com.

Member Exit Survey

Beginning this year, CAHN will be asking members who don’t renew their membership by May 1 to complete a voluntary exit survey. By understanding some of the reasons why members may choose to leave, we are hoping to gain further insight into how CAHN can best support our present membership.

Upcoming Events

Global Hepatitis Summit June 17 to June 20, 2021 – Taipei, Taiwan

EASL The International Liver Congress June 23, 2021 to June 26, 2021 – E-learning platform

AASLD The Liver Meeting November 12, 2021, to November 16, 2021 – Anaheim, California

Thank you to our 2020 sponsors

This year we wish to offer an extra-special thank you to our 2020 sponsors. Their support throughout all the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and with our debut virtual CAHNference was truly appreciated!


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