A Tribute to Our Nurses

By Doreen Slessor, CFRE
Director of Development

International Nurse’s Day is May 12, 2022. Everyone in their lifetime will be touched by the care of a nurse. From the moment you open your eyes at birth to the moment you close your eyes at rest. Whether to help get you moving after surgery in a hospital or to care for your loved one at home. Perhaps to help keep your children healthy or support those suffering from homelessness and substance use disorders. Nurses are everywhere. When I look back on my own life, every tragedy and every joyous occasion was shared with a Nurse.

May is a special month in the Nursing community. This is the month we draw attention to nurses, increasing the awareness of the public, policymakers, and governments of the many contributions of nursing to the well-being of Albertans. May 12 is International Nurses Day.

Working for a nursing charity, May becomes even more important! ARNET (Alberta Registered Nurses Educational Trust) has been working to support nurses since 1984. We are a foundation that raises, manages, and disburses educational and research funding for registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs). Since our inception, we have disbursed over nine million dollars to RNs and NPs. Over 40,000 RNs and NPs across Alberta are eligible to apply for this funding.

We are a charity for the people. Better nurses mean better patient care. As you can imagine, the last two years have been exceedingly difficult for nurses. The Pandemic is exhausting. COVID-19 has swept through our hospitals which have had to adapt as a matter of urgency. We are aware that a health crisis of this magnitude is likely to generate issues, particularly affecting health care workers. Being so brutal and global, this one-of-the-kind Pandemic has impacted the nurses in their professional and private spheres.

Nurses are leaving the sector at an alarming rate due to burnout and exhaustion often related to increased aggression and violence experienced in the workplace by the very patients they are trying to help. We are genuinely concerned for this industry. An integrative approach is needed to address the multifaceted outcomes and reduce the detrimental impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the nursing workforce. Helping them enhance their skill sets and manage their mental health during and post-pandemic is critical to retaining these essential health care workers.

ARNET’s goal for the 2022 fiscal year is to provide $ 1.5 million in funding support to RNs and NPs in Alberta. The most one-year funding given in our history. We feel that now is the time. Our frontline workers need support, and we need to keep nurses in the workforce.

You can also mark the occasion by remembering and celebrating the nurses that have touched your life. Whether you recognize your nursing staff on Nurses Day as an employer or as a patient, a gesture of appreciation will mean a lot.

To learn more about ARNET, click here www.arnet.ca.