Chairman's Message

Professor Sally CHAN

The term of office for the Executive Committee (2002-2003) of the Society has come to an end. The year 2003 was an unforgettable year for the Hong Kong people, especially the health care professionals. Though we are still under the threats of SARS and other infectious diseases such as avian flu, the health care system and the life of the people in Hong Kong are slowly returning to normal. While we are not sure whether SARS will return or avian flu will arrive, the Government is working on strategies for early detection and swift contact tracing as well as in promoting isolation and quarantine for effective containment of infections. Protection of healthcare workers by training and provision of appropriate protective gear is also of prime importance. By reflecting on and learning from past experience, we hope that we would be more than prepared to fight the battle should infectious diseases strike Hong Kong again.

Promoting Health of the Hong Kong Community
In fighting the battle against SARS, we were proud of the devotion and exemplary courage of the health care professionals in Hong Kong. The Society contributed by collaborating with nursing and health care groups. The Society co-organised a health education event to the public in Lok Fu Housing Estate with the Hong Kong College of Chinese Medicinal Nursing. More than sixty members of the Society participated in this very meaningful and successful event.

Members of the Society also collaborated with the Federation of Medical Societies in Hong Kong in giving health talks on infection control for medical, dental, nursing and allied health professionals in the private sector. The Society also participated in providing expert advice upon enquiries received through the Bulletin Board Section of the Federation's website, as well as from the hotline operated by the Agency for Volunteer Services.

Promoting Quality of Nursing and Nursing Education
The Society gives its commitment in promoting the quality of nursing education and in supporting the requirement of a nursing degree as the foundation preparation for nursing practice. When we, members of the Executive Committee took up this term of office in April 2002, we contacted the Government to discuss the increase in the intake of students to the degree programme. The Government promised to take into consideration the Society's proposal in the planning of student number targets in the 2004/05 academic year and the next triennium (i.e. 2005/06 to 2007/08 academic years). It is expected that there will be an increase in nursing degree places in the near future. We believe that there is a need to continuously reassess the nursing personnel needed to provide adequate health care services to the Hong Kong community. The Society will continue to contribute actively in maintaining an effective system of producing professional nurses of good quality and adequate quantity for meeting the service needs in Hong Kong.

To further improve the quality of nursing practice, the Society supports that advanced nursing practice should be established to meet the increasing demands of health care services. Nurses practising at advanced nursing practice level should have at least a Postgraduate Diploma or preferably a Master Degree in the relevant specialities. The Society has also been actively involved in the work of establishing the Hong Kong Academy of Nursing. We are looking forward to seeing fast development of this exciting advancement in the nursing history in Hong Kong.

The Society supports that continuing education is a life long process for nurses. We agree that the nursing regulatory body needs to develop a mandatory system of continuing nursing education (CNE) for ensuring safe and effective nursing practice. On one hand, the Society participates actively in the CNE work of the Nursing Council of Hong Kong. On the other, the Society has been actively organising educational activities for nurses to meet the learning needs of members of various specialties. These activities were very well received by members and non-members alike. This work will be one of the key functions of the Society in the coming years.

The Society has been working for a book entitled, "Evidenced-based Nursing Education and Related Issues". The aim of this book is to promote the quality of nursing education by sharing research studies and discussions related to nursing education. The book will be published very soon. Members of the Society will have a copy of the book. We hope that this book would serve as a valuable tool for promoting evidence-based nursing education in Hong Kong.

Influencing Health Policies and Professional Development of Nurses
In the past two years, the Society participated actively in matters related to the development of nursing and nursing education in Hong Kong. The Society has been regularly consulted by Legislative Councillors, the Secretary of Health and Welfare, the Hospital Authority, the Nursing Council of Hong Kong, and the Midwifery Council of Hong Kong on issues related to health care delivery, nursing practice, nursing education, and continuing nursing education. The Society has been effectively making its voices heard and participated actively in matters affecting the professional development of nurses in Hong Kong.

Networking with Health Care Colleagues
The Society maintains effective network with nursing colleagues in the region. In November 2003, the Society worked with the Sino-Portuguese Nurses' Association of Macao to organise 'The First Macau-Hong Kong Nursing Conference'. A close relationship with the nurses' groups and educational institutes in Macau was established. Similar joint ventures are being planned. The Society has also established links with nursing professional associations in Australia. In collaboration with another health care group, a project for providing primary health care in the rural parts of the Mainland China is also being planned.

The Society works with quite a few nurses groups in Hong Kong, e.g. the College of Chinese Medicinal Nursing in organizing health talks and seminars. The Society has expanded its network with the medical and allied health professional groups. We participated in the Celebration of the National Day with the Association of Hong Kong Health Care Professionals as a major organiser. Furthermore, the Society remains an Associate Member of the Federation of Medical Societies of Hong Kong. We are looking forward to having more collaboration works with other groups in future.

Uniting Forces to Move Forward
The membership of the Society tripled in the year 2003. This success proves that the Society's work is well supported by the Hong Kong nurses. The Newsletter published by the Society and our website continue to serve as a valuable tool for communicating with our members. We are grateful to Medcom Limited for its help in maintaining the Society's website and for putting the Newsletter on the Internet making it accessible by the whole world.

The current Executive Committee has completed its term of service. I would like to express my personal thanks to all the members of the Executive Committee who were so committed and have done a wonderful job in the past two years. On behalf of members of the Society, I would like to express our sincere thanks to Dr. LEONG Che-Hung, the Patron of the Society for his unfailing support to us. We are also very appreciative of the contribution of the Society's Honorary Advisors, Honorary Legal Advisors, and Honorary Auditor. Their support and encouragement are essential for the healthy growth of the Society.

The Society would like to thank all the members for their contribution, support and participation. With the election which was held in February this year, a new Executive Committee for the year 2004-2006 is now formed. I am indeed very honoured and privileged to be elected as the Chairperson again to continue to serve members for the coming two years. The new Executive Committee is looking forward to the members' continuous support. Members are invited to work closely with the Executive Committee for accomplishing the missions of the Society to improve the quality of nursing education and practice, ultimately promoting the health and well being of the Hong Kong community.