They’re often the first medical professional you see on the way in, and one of the last ones you see on the way out.
While doctors often get all of the glory, the health care system would grind to a halt without nurses. From May 7-13, Canada celebrates National Nursing Week. This year’s theme, according to the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), is #YesThisIsNursing. International Nurses Day is celebrated on May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.
The theme was suggested by Alliah Over, a Registered Nurse (RN) from Newmarket, Ontario. It was also the theme last year. According to the CAN, Over described her inspiration as relating to the growing list of tasks nurses complete daily.
“Nursing roles are evolving at an exponential rate, particularly with the influence of technology and the expansion of digital technologies,” Over said.
“We can leverage social media to raise awareness, promote advocacy and connect people across the globe on important issues. For me, this theme speaks to the expanding traditional and non-traditional roles, settings and sectors nurses work in as well as the unique opportunities for our profession presented by social media and emerging tech trends.”
The importance of nurses isn’t lost on Victoria Hospital Foundation executive director Sherry Buckler.
“We wouldn’t have a hospital if we didn’t have nurses,” she said.
“They’re as important as the doctors.”
Several organizations are celebrating National Nursing Day around the city. One such celebration has been set up in the Victoria Hospital lobby.
Melissa Sawicki is overseeing that celebration, a fundraiser for the Saskatchewan Nurses Foundation, an organization that supports education for nursing in the province. Last year, the fundraiser earned $1,649.
‘We want to showcase and celebrate registered nursing and nursing of all sorts here,” Sawicki said.
“We have goodies, prizes we’re showcasing nursing and we have a raffle as well.”
The booth will be set up from 1-3 p.m. all week at the hospital. Sawicki and other volunteers are also available to answer any questions people may have.
Also, for the second year, they’re offering people a chance to talk about their best nursing memory.
“It’s how nursing has impacted your life or your family’s life in a positive way,” Sawicki said. The memories are collected, with the winner chosen by a student to be showcased in the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association magazine.
“The person who won last year (talked) about when she worked at the hospital where the transplant team from Edmonton had phoned and said there was a liver waiting for one of her patients. That was the most thoughtful memory and the students chose it last year.”
A University of Saskatchewan student will be by Friday to choose this year’s best memory. But the other memories also mean a lot to nurses like Sawicki.
“I keep them all,” she said.
“We’re talking to SRNA right now about a way to showcase them and about how nice it would be for everybody to see. You’re seeing impacts in so many ways and everybody’s memories are unique and special.”
Sawicki reflected on the importance of celebrating nurses and all they do.
“They really are the front line on nursing care, no matter if that’s in hospital or if that’s out in the community,” she said.
“We really wanted to just showcase how beneficial it is for nurses in our community, especially here in the north.”
Buckler also spoke about the importance of recognizing the contributions of nurses.
“Many people take for granted the work, the sacrifice and the passion nurses put into their jobs and into taking care of us,” she said.
“The least we can do is stop and pause and think about that work, that sacrifice and that time they provide their community, and say thank you and that we appreciate them during this week.”