What community policing can teach us about building trust

“Trust is the glue of life,” writes Stephen Covey. “It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

For organizations like CRNBC that work in the public interest, trust is everything. The importance of trust is no more evident than when it is questioned, compromised, or worse yet, broken. This became increasingly clear to me in the news headlines of this past year—particularly for organizations privileged with special authority. Not all of that coverage fostered trust.

The fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri made news around the world. In New York, we heard the news of an unarmed black man who died after an officer reportedly used excessive force. Closer to home, the Law Society of Upper Canada recently took action after a Toronto Star article revealed that police are not receiving timely information about suspected fraud by lawyers.

Nonetheless, amidst these stories of trust shaken, there are also examples when community policing is helping renew and safeguard public trust. In the wake of the Ferguson shooting, Toronto and Vancouver police forces are adopting fair and impartial policing models to help improve trust in the communities they serve. This past holiday season we also saw some touching news stories, such as a police officer in Tennessee who bought a meal and gasoline for a homeless family before he found them shelter for the night. Community policing is offering some great examples of how to do things right.

I share these stories not to cast judgement or take sides. I share them because they are a great reminder how vital it is for regulatory bodies, such as CRNBC, to build trust in the communities we serve. As a regulator, it is important to understand the bigger picture when considering the right amount of regulatory action to address professional issues—not too much, not too little. Public trust is built in partnership with nurses.

In 2011, CRNBC launched a series of discussions with partners and colleagues to talk candidly about how we could be a more accessible regulator and improve levels of trust with B.C. nurses. The College shared its findings in a report and since then we have been working hard at becoming a better more trusted regulator.

We understand nurses may sometimes feel hesitant to reach out to the College. We want to change that. So, why should you trust the College? Here are just a few examples:

Accountability, transparency and stewardship
The College is and will always remain committed to transparency and accountability with nurses and our stakeholders. We regularly share information through our annual report, board minutes, newsletters, special announcements and website. We work hard to manage money wisely and keep fees fair. Over the past four years registration fees have remained stable.

Convenient, helpful and easy-to-use services
Being a better, more trusted College means giving you helpful, convenient and user-friendly services. It means communications and resources that are welcoming, accessible and approachable. Recently, we launched a new and improved website, more personalized e-newsletters, additional real-to-life case studies and a totally redesigned online registration and renewal application. Our practice consultants continue to be an important resource for nurses looking for one-on-one support when faced with ethical decision making or grappling with specific nursing standards.

Right-touch regulation and just culture
We work hard to carry out our work fairly and justly. In our role to protect the public, the College strives to use right-touch regulation. This means using the right amount of regulatory actions. It means taking our responsibility seriously while not being heavy handed, unnecessarily. Our Early Intervention Program is a great example of right-touch regulation.

Strong secure data infrastructure
As a regulator, maintaining a strong secure data infrastructure and carefully managing personal information are imperative. We take privacy and security very seriously at the College. All registrant data is centrally stored in a secure Canadian data centre. CRNBC staff participate in security training and our secure online payment systems keeps your credit card and personal information safe.

These are just a few examples and there’s more to come. Over the next year and beyond, look for further enhancements to our online tools and more opportunities to give your feedback and participate in the work of the College. Year-after-year, nursing is ranked among the most trusted professions in Canada and abroad. Every day, nurses earn the trust of their patients. And in turn, the College is working hard to continuously earn the trust of B.C. nurses.

Your trust is vital to doing our job well. We will never stop earning that trust.

Listening and feedback is a foundation for building trust. That’s why I’d like to invite you to complete our open survey as one way to share your opinions with us. Click here to complete the survey