Nurses share their successes and challenges during National Nursing Week

During a time when nurses are working tirelessly and selflessly through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) will honour the impact they are having every day on the lives of Ontarians and the health system, through a series of virtual events planned during National Nursing Week (May 11-17).

“Nursing Week is the annual celebration of our profession and this year is unique because it marks the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the founder of modern nursing. It also falls during the World Health Organization’s designated Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” says Dr. Angela Cooper Brathwaite, RNAO president.

“RNAO is proud to recognize the 97,890 RNs, 3,294 NPs, and 47,744 RPNs who are providing, day in and day out, quality care to Ontarians everywhere in the province. We also salute the thousands of nursing students who are taking forward Nightingale’s lamp. From the bedside to the classroom and the boardroom, nurses and nursing students make the world a healthier place,” adds Brathwaite.

Watch a welcome video from Dr. Angela Cooper-Braithwaite, RNAO President and myself at the Nursing Week portal, and read our thank you message here.

For our Spanish speaking readers, including the thousands of nurses and other health professionals in RNAO’s BPSOs in Spain and in many Latin American countries – here is a special message for you here.

RNAO has planned events such as its 20th annual Take Your MPP To Work Live, that launched earlier today, Monday May 11, with Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. This year, to keep with the need for physical distancing, the association is coordinating virtual visits via Zoom where political leaders can still meet and speak with nurses to better understand the richness of nursing practice. Many MPPs are participating in these visits, among them: Premier Doug Ford, Minister Elliott, Minister of Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Long-term Care Merrilee Fullerton, PC MPP for Mississauga Centre Natalia Kusendova, NDP Health Care Critic France Gélinas, NDP MPP for Kingston Ian Arthur, Liberal MPP for Ottawa South John Fraser, Liberal MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood Mitzie Hunter and Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner. The full schedule of events will be updated here.

Tuesday May 12, at 10:00am, Toronto time: RNAO will release its third groundbreaking report on Enhancing Community Care for Ontarians (ECCO 3.0), which will provide government officials and the public with a clear direction on strengthen our health system with a robust community care and a strong primary care foundation. The recommendations in the report align with the 2019 Ontario government’s plans to reshape Ontario’s health system and build on RNAO’s ECCO 1.0, released in 2012 and ECCO 2.0, released in 2014, both of which have informed health system restructuring in the province. Read our official media advisory on the event here.

“The shocking impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in every person’s life, and the challenges it has presented to our health system, make bold system transformation an imperative. We must decisively and definitively embrace our publicly-funded and primarily not-for-profit delivered health system, with a strong community care focus, to meet trending population health needs and serve all Ontarians. We must fully lift our talent and focus on all aspects of care delivery inspiring the collective contributions of all sectors,” says Grinspun. “We invite media, nurses, other health providers, political leaders and other stakeholders to join and hear what nurses have to say,” she adds.

Also on Tuesday May 12, at 2 p.m., RNAO along with the Ontario Nurses’ Association and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario, will honour one NP, RN and RPN for their contributions made to nursing practice in celebration of the inaugural Nursing Now Ontario Awards. Congratulations to the awardees -- Nurse Practitioner Award Recipient: Michael Borja, Registered Nurse Award Recipient: Patric Campeau, and Registered Practical Nurse Award Recipient: Kelly Karges. Read about their amazing accomplishments here.

On Thursday May 14, at 10 a.m., we are providing a Re-introduction to for employers & Tips on Cover Letters and Resumes for job seekers. Join us for an overview of - RNAO's official career site for nurses and tips for your cover letter and resume. In the webinar you will gain a basic understanding of key site features and functionality for employer and jobseeker users; learn tips for optimal user experience; and how to create a resume and cover letter to attract employers. For details, go here.

On Friday May 15, at 1:15pm., we will close Nursing Week with the unveiling of the second edition of RNAO oral health best practice guideline (BPG) titled Oral health: Supporting adults who require assistance. The BPG provides evidence-based recommendations for improving delivery of oral care to adults and ultimately lead to positive oral health outcomes.

“These celebrations will provide nurses a brief pause from intense stress to reflect on their formidable work and the profession’s collective contribution. Colleagues should take pride in knowing that our profession and each nurse in Ontario, in Canada, and indeed the world over is making a profound difference for the public we serve,” says Grinspun.

Here are all the events during Nursing Week. Please see our Nursing Week portal for more information and to register.