Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

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Interest Group of the Year

This award honours an interest group that demonstrates teamwork and leadership, influences decision-makers and involves members in RNAO initiatives.

With more than 2,000 members spread across 11 active chapters, and working in a variety of different sectors, the Gerontological Nursing Association of Ontario (GNAO) has worked hard to develop a dynamic communications strategy to effectively engage its diverse membership. "We wanted to be able to connect as efficiently in the Greater Toronto Area as we do in Thunder Bay and North Bay," says Julie Rubel, GNAO president. Over the past few years, the group completely redesigned its website to make it more user-friendly, and revamped its newsletter to better inform membership. GNAO's goal is to foster person-to-person dialogue among nurses who are passionate about gerontological nursing, and highlight people working in the field, says Julie. The group also provides cutting-edge professional development opportunities, with each chapter delivering at least two educational events each year. Engaging students is also paramount for GNAO. It offers free membership to more than 700 students, and recently created two student liaison positions on its provincial executive. "Students are the future of gerontological nursing," Julie says. "It's important to give them a voice."