National Nurses Day

This article is dedicated to the hard-working nurses across Canada. Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to keeping our communities healthy!

The week of May 10th-16th is National Nurses Week, a time to appreciate, support, and give thanks to the unrelenting tireless work that our Canadian nurses bring forth, especially in the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a time of unceasing change, but one constant throughout all of these uncertainties is the bravery and resiliency of the nurses who continue to put themselves at risk for the overall safety of our communities. 

This week, on May 12th, falls National Nurses Day. We celebrate on May 12th because this is the birthday of Florence Nightingale who is known as the founder of modern nursing. Florence Nightingale was a British nurse who served in the Crimean war, aiding wounded British and allied troops. During this service, she was known as the “Lady with the Lamp”, as she consistently made her night rounds tending to injured soldiers. With the will to share the knowledge she had gained, in 1860 Florence Nightingale opened the first scientific-based nursing school at St. Thomas’ hospital in London called “The Nightingale School of Nursing”. 

Fast forward 161 years and nurses continue to uphold the values and determination that Florence Nightingale set out to instil in this invaluable profession. This past year, more than any in recent history, nurses and medical professionals have been called upon to work longer hours in dangerous environments. They heroically answered this call. For these professionals, there was no time to work at home or take a break during lockdown from the uncertainties of the virus. Rather than lockdown and shield, they stood up and took the challenge head-on. 

A major issue throughout the pandemic has been keeping intensive care units (ICUs) at a level that will not affect the ability of hospitals to deliver effective treatment to those who need it. In an effort to avoid pushing ICU capacity to the brink, SickKid’s Hospital has opened its doors to adult patients for the first time ever. The third wave of COVID-19 in Ontario has brought ICUs in Toronto to a breaking point, forcing this unprecedented decision to be made. SickKids opened an eight-bed unit for adults suffering intense effects of the Coronavirus, once again showing the ever-changing landscape of being a nurse in 2021. 


“Help us help you. Get vaccinated. Mask. Social Distance. Do your part. We are all in this together!”


Above is a message directly from our Toronto nurses. Though this is a week to celebrate and give thanks for their amazing work, this is also an opportunity to reflect on how our actions directly affect nurses across Canada. Nurses are tired and frustrated. They have been overworked this past year and though resilient unlike any other, they are human. We can show our gratitude by doing our part to curb the spread by getting vaccinated, socially distancing ourselves, and masking when in public areas. This is a small price to pay in return for the dedication and hard work that nurses have shown us through these difficult times. 

Today, May 12th, we take time to appreciate nurses across Canada who have put themselves in harm’s way for our protection. You have not only lived up to, but exceeded the call for your service in the fight against COVID-19, and to that we say, thank you! Florence Nightingale would be proud.

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