National Nursing Week – #WeAnswerTheCall
May 9 to 15, 2022 is National Nursing week in Canada. It’s a moment to celebrate and recognize a group of incredibly skilled, professional, and dedicated working people who keep us educated, safe, and healthy. But what does it mean to ‘answer the call?’
SEIU-West recognizes a broad group of people who provide nursing services—even those outside of the legal definition of nurse. In addition to Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Nurse Practitioners (NP), Registered Nurses (RN), and Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPN), we have Continuing Care Assistants (CCA), Personal Support Workers, and Direct Care Workers all working in positions and making a direct impact in providing nursing services to clients, patients, and residents.
They have answered the call to provide care and really, have been put to the test, not only during a global pandemic, but beyond. In our retirement facilities, long-term care, homecare, acute care, private care, and group homes, they are advocates for quality care and quality of life. They are a source of information and knowledge and come to these roles without judgement or favour.
I am in awe of those people who set aside their own fears and concerns to respond to the challenge of the moment or crisis. Their determination to be part of a team that not only provides comfort, but brings a wealth of knowledge to the work, sets a high benchmark for all of us to follow. It is also their willingness to lead, educate, and advocate to improve health outcomes by continuously expanding their knowledge, being advocates for public services and driving these messages home through evidence and experience. Members of the nursing team in every single sector will tell you that they are part of a team that includes many different classifications and levels of expertise and they value that by expanding the circle of care.
We have all leaned heavily on that expertise and skill throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but now is the time for all of us to answer their calls for respect, protection, and wages to keep them in their chosen careers. Beyond the hearts in windows and on pavement, or the banging of pots and pans to honour them, we can, and we must, lift our voices in support of safe staffing levels, education, and training supports, and recruitment and retention initiatives that attract people to roles within nursing. We need to keep the knowledge and experience within our current team.
Nursing staff across all sectors need to see improvement in workplace safety protections to do their jobs. Unsafe workplaces are not what they signed up for when choosing their career. They need to be able to participate and understand the decisions being made about their workplaces. They are frontline experts who understand efficiency as a best practice, and we should respect their input. We can, and must, do better to compensate all staff in these roles and stabilize a workforce that has been demoralized by the impacts of a global pandemic. Respect them, protect them, pay them.
On behalf of SEIU-West, we salute every member of the nursing team and expand the circle of our care around them.
Want to see the official proclamations from the Saskatchewan Government for this week?