OTTAWA – #WeAnswerTheCall, the theme for this year’s National Nurses Week, was developed by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) to showcase the multiple roles nurses play in a patient’s health-care journey. National Nurses Week was initiated in 1993 at the urging of the CNA.
“The pandemic highlighted the crucial role nurses play in our communities,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “For over a year now, nurses have demonstrated their selfless commitment to caring for patients under the most arduous and dangerous circumstances. Their expertise, courage and kindness in the face of this relentless health crisis deserves not only our undying gratitude, but also an assurance that we will advocate to implement better supports for their profession.”
The pandemic has exposed dangerous fault lines across our health-care system. In response, the CNA has echoed the Green Party’s call for a national strategy to deal with the health crisis. The CNA reminds us that since the outset of the pandemic Canada’s 440,000 regulated nurses showed up. Now, 15-months in, many critical care teams are buckling under the strain.
“It’s essential that governments and employers recognize the dire situation facing health workers,” said Ms. Paul. “Let us not forget that for many grievously ill patients, nurses and critical care teams were the only ones present at the end of their lives since family members were not allowed to be present. We cannot comprehend the emotional toll this has taken given the frequency of mortality associated with COVID-19. The CNA urges an immediate mobilization of mental health and crisis management teams to help provide care to nurses and their colleagues.
“One of the unintended consequences of this health crisis will be the enormous backlog of people waiting for procedures. The same nurses who have provided round-the-clock care for Canadians throughout this pandemic will be expected to show up once again. My grandmother, who had been a nurse and a midwife, became a nurse’s aide and I know how dedicated she was to her patients. As more and more Canadians are vaccinated and we emerge from this pandemic, we must not turn our backs on those whom we trusted with our lives and those of our loved ones. It is time for us to step up and ensure that our debt of gratitude results in concrete action that will greatly improve conditions for all health-care workers.”
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