Education Corner

Going Online: Leaders and Branch Executives Sign on for Digital Learning

March 30, 2022

RNU shifted how we deliver education to volunteers as a result of COVID-19. Over the past two years, we have offered education sessions virtually, including Shop Steward Education, Council of Presidents, and the upcoming Branch Executive Education.

Now more than ever, RNU volunteers need flexibility due to immense work demands and difficulty getting time off. By offering education sessions online, we’ve been able to be more accessible, widen our geographical reach, and provide an alternative for when members have difficulty securing leave for travel to attend sessions.

Along with education opportunities, going online is helping RNU strengthen member engagement by providing members and volunteers the opportunity to connect directly with President Yvette Coffey and the RNU Board of Directors for live chats on Webex, a virtual meeting platform.

Moving online has proven effective and we will continue to incorporate it in our education services, but we miss the face-to-face connection with our volunteers and members. RNU is hoping to bring back some in-person events in 2022, including our 28th Biennial Convention in November.

Branch Executive Education

Branch Executive Education will take place Tuesday, April 26, 2022. The session will provide valuable learning and networking for our branch leaders, who play such an important role on the ground in workplaces across our province.

The session is open to new branch executives and those who have not attended a session in the last four years. During this session, RNU Labour Relations Officers will review concepts such as the dispute resolutions process, guidance on meeting with management, and the professional practice process. RNU President Yvette Coffey will cover important topics such as branch executive skills and branch finances.

Shop Steward Education

This past spring, RNU offered Shop Steward Education in a new and exciting way. Eligible volunteers were invited to an online platform called Padlet; an interactive digital platform where users share documents, videos, presentations, and more. This technology allowed us to make the content delivered in our typical Shop Steward Education sessions available online.

In an effort to expand engagement and provide opportunities to converse with our team, we offered live “Coffee Breaks” weekly with the LROs online using Webex. Our LROs value face-to-face time with volunteers in our typical sessions, so offering weekly Coffee Breaks ensured an opportunity to connect in real time and ask questions about the content covered in each module.

Council of Presidents

RNU hosted its annual Council of Presidents meeting in October. The event provided an opportunity for union leaders from across the province to connect, learn, debate, and collaborate. Despite being virtual, the two-day event remained productive and engaging.

We hosted breakout rooms with regional representatives and board members to network with other leaders in their area. There was a Health Accord NL presentation with Sister Elizabeth and Dr. Patrick Parfrey. Focus groups were held afterwards to gather feedback from members on the Health Accord. A report with findings from these focus groups was later presented to the Health Accord Taskforce.

RNU advocacy efforts, workforce research, education updates, branch communication tools, RNU’s Annual Report and much more were also presented during the Council of Presidents. Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, provided greetings and a national update on the fight for safe and healthy work across the country. We also hosted an open forum where attendees could ask questions and connect directly with the RNU Board of Directors.