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Choose your own adventure – #YesThisIsNursing

National Nursing Week is celebrated annually across Canada during the week of Florence Nightingale’s May 12th birthday. The celebratory event provides an opportunity for registered nurses and nurse practitioners, their employers and the public, to recognize the contributions of the nursing profession. This year, National Nursing Week will take place from May 7-13th and the theme is #YesThisIsNursing.

For many, the reference of a registered nurse (RN) predominantly reflects a nurse working within a hospital setting. This may be because one of your first introductions into this world was with a registered nurse at birth. However, RNs work in many places outside of the traditional hospital walls. The reality is nursing is an exceptionally versatile profession which offers a variety of different opportunities.

For example, RNs can work in public health, air ambulance, extra-mural, nursing homes, primary health clinics, in managerial and supervisory roles. With advanced education a registered nurse can become a nurse practitioner (NP). Whatever your passion, the nursing profession is one that attracts men and women who thrive on challenges, have a desire for personal growth and a selflessness to help others – #YesThisIsNursing. It is arguably one of the most rewarding career choices out there!

Not only is nursing a rewarding career option but it is also a highly trusted professional career choice. Registered nurses and nurse practitioners follow a code of ethics and standard of practice based on evidence‐informed knowledge, skill and judgement. This enables nurses to contribute to and promote measures which optimize positive patient health outcomes. A 2016 survey by MQO Research found that “registered nurses are the most highly trusted health care professionals in New Brunswick.” Therefore, the advocacy ability of RNs and NPs should be carefully considered on all health-related issues.

The reality is that New Brunswick needs more registered nurses. While registered nurses continue to persevere to deliver safe, quality care under the current working conditions, nurses know that New Brunswick’s health care system is on the cusp of a breaking point. Government’s top priority should be to develop and implement an effective nursing resource strategy to recruit and retain more RNs to the province. Short-term and a commitment to long-term solutions needs to be put in place immediately.

Compassionate caregiver, advocate, critical thinker, supporter and guide. Educator, diligent multitasker, challenge acceptor, leader: registered nurses and nurse practitioners are all of these things and more. This is what makes them such a crucial part of our health care system.

To all of our dedicated, hardworking and skilled nurses, NBNU wishes you a very Happy National Nurses Week! Thank you for all that you do, day in and day out, 24/7 to advocate and care for all New Brunswickers.

Commentary by Paula Doucet, President of the New Brunswick Nurses Union which represents 6,900 registered nurses and nurse practitioners working throughout New Brunswick.

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