The Gerontological Nurses Group of British Columbia (GNGBC) was founded through a process of evolution and partnership of chapters located in Vancouver (founded in 1981) and Victoria (founded 1983) as well as partners located in Kamloops and Kelowna. The original name of the group was the Gerontological Nurses Group of BC  (GNGBC). At a provincial conference in 1989 it became a formal specialty group open to provincial membership.

The Association became a Registered Nurses’ Association of BC (RNABC) professional practice group in 1986. Additional local chapters in other communities began forming in 1990. Conjoint membership with the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association (CGNA) was offered to the association in 1997. This relationship strengthened the ability to provide to the members local, provincial and national perspectives on health-related issues impacting older adults and those nurses who care for them.

In 1999, the Canadian Nursing Association (CNA) recognized Gerontological Nursing as a specialty and the first national certification exam was written. Examinations continue to be scheduled on a regular basis.

Changes were on the horizon. On October 23, 2003, the Health Professions Act was passed in the British Columbia legislature creating a common regulatory framework for the governance of health professions in the province. The College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia  (CRNBC) was established as the regulatory body for nursing. In August 2005, the RNABC, home of the BC nursing special interest groups, was dissolved. The specialty groups including GNGBC were allied with CRNBC under their quality assurance role.

However, the activities of political action and advocacy mandated in the association’s objectives conflicted with the mandate of the CRNBC. In 2008 the membership made the decision to become an independent freestanding association along with a name change in order to preserve the integrity of the objectives. Hence the organization became known as the Gerontological Nurses Association of BC (GNABC).

Providing education to its membership has been a strong mandate since the inception of the GNABC. Provincial conferences have been hosted yearly, rotating between GNABC chapters and allowing participants to network, hear new information and share their best practices. Several national conferences have been hosted on behalf of CGNA. Chapter meetings also provide opportunities for local members to receive continuing education, hear new ideas and respond to local issues affecting seniors, nurses, and their caregivers.

GNABC offers full membership to Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses within the province of BC. In order to facilitate competent and collaborative healthcare for the older adult, other health care professionals are encouraged to join GNABC as affiliate members. 

Significant Dates

1981  Vancouver group  formed 

1983  Victoria group formed

1986  became RNABC professional practice group  – the 13th professional practice group within RNABC

1989 – 1990 became a truly provincial group with local chapters forming in other communities

1997  became a CGNA conjoint group  

1999  membership participated in the first national certification exam

2008  GNGBC became a free standing specialty group and renamed the Gerontological Nurses’ Association of BC (GNABC)


Contributors:  Nan Martin, Judy Delaney, and Jessie Mantle (previous members of various committees locally, provincially, nationally).

Please note: In the absence of archival material the dates must be viewed as approximate but the information describes the overall evolution of the Association.