National Nursing Week: An Opportunity to Reflect

Welcome to National Nursing Week 2014!

It is a special privilege to extend Nursing Week greetings to all of Ontario Shores’ RPNs and RNs—and to all who support them at work and at home. Nursing week began officially in 1971 when the International Council of Nurses designated May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, as International Nurses’ Day. In 1985, then Canadian Health Minister Jake Epp proclaimed the second week of May as National Nursing Week in recognition of the dedication and achievements of the nursing profession as a whole. It has been said that Nursing Week gives nurses across the world the chance to celebrate the work they do to keep Nightingale's work alive by advocating for policies that keep people healthy, and of course to care for them when they're ill.

As with the designated weeks for our colleagues in other health professions including occupational therapy, recreational therapy, social work and psychology, National Nursing Week offers a chance to raise awareness about the profession and to say thank you to nurses. Even more importantly, it affords an opportunity for nurses to reflect on their chosen career and on the contributions they make to the health of their patients, clients, residents and communities.  During this special week, nurses often participate in activities to advance their education and knowledge. They also share their stories about nursing to deepen understanding about the profession. In partnership with the Professional Practice Department, the Ontario Shores’ Nursing Council designed this year’s nursing week program with those aims in mind. For example we will thank nurses by offering some special treats and will focus on education by offering a nursing skills day and a special Grand Rounds presentation on Countertransference—a topic specifically requested by nurses. These initiatives are meaningful and valuable ways to mark Nursing Week and I extend my sincere thanks to all involved in planning and providing these activities.

Mental health nursing is a complex and challenging specialty and I am very proud that a number of our RNs have elected to become certified through the Canadian Nurses Association’s national certification program. Similarly, some of our RPNs have earned a college certificate in mental health nursing.

Each month when I meet with Nursing Council members, I ask them the same question: “Since last month’s Council meeting, when did you feel most proud to be a nurse at Ontario Shores?” The stories that emerge are important windows into expert in mental health nursing. This week, I urge each nurse to share your pride in being a mental health nurse.  I wish you a memorable and meaningful week and extend my thanks for choosing nursing and Ontario Shores.