National nursing week began as an homage to nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale and is celebrated from May 9-15 in commemoration of the anniversary of her birth (May 12). 

This year’s theme for National Nursing Week is #WeAnswerTheCall, which has been designed to showcase the many roles that nurses around Canada play in a patient’s healthcare journey. 

For many Canadians, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of our healthcare system, and with that, negative headlines have run amuck. We’re here to break that cycle by spotlighting some of the profoundly positive stories in the nursing world. 

Whether that comes in the form of being a role model for the future generations of nurses to come, designing a mural that captures the very essence of what being a nurse is like during the pandemic, or even how we, as a society, are working to help support the nursing profession during the pandemic—2022 offers to be a year of gratitude, renewal, and recognition for our frontline healthcare heroes.

We Answer The Call Mural

On February 14th, The Canadian Nurses Association unveiled a massive, 18-storey mural showcased on Toronto’s Dixon Hall shelter in the Yonge-Dundas area. 

The mural—created by artist collective Oneday Creates, was designed to symbolise the colossal role that nurses have, and continue to play on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The mural contains an augmented reality overlay, which can be accessed through the QR code technology at the bottom. By simply holding your phone up to the QR code, the augmented reality will bring the nurses’ faces to life, providing voiceovers and links to various front-line stories that provide insight into the challenges faced on an ongoing basis.

First Responder Mental Health Funding

One of the faces championing the push for improved mental health support in Alberta is University of Calgary Nursing’s Dr. Linda Duffett-Leger. 

Duffett-Leger recently received a grant of over $200,000 from the Alberta government to help develop programs designed to help frontline health-care workers manage post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). 

As part of the grant, Duffett-Leger and her team are working towards developing a platform that not only delivers psychoeducational programs virtually to public safety personnel (PSP) and their spouses, but to integrate the use of wearable technologies that can help people suffering from PTSI monitor and manage their stress levels in real time.

Inspiring Others To Answer The Call

The tagline #WeAnswerTheCall has fast become a beacon of light when navigating the challenges associated with the COVID 19 pandemic. For many nurses across the country, this meant going above and beyond the call of duty in ways that far exceed traditional guidelines. 

One U of T nursing student that was profoundly impacted after witnessing the selflessness and resiliency of these healthcare heroes was Srisundakhar Nowduri.

Before experiencing first hand what it was like to work closely with nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nowduri had a very “stereotypical idea of what nurses did,” believing that they were mostly bedside assistants. 

Reflecting on these previous views, Nowduri now recognizes the incredible efforts and hardships faced by nurses across Canada on a daily basis—particularly regarding their shift lengths, the mental and physical toil, and the sheer exhaustion. However, this new experience has not deterred him from pursuing nursing as a career. Contrarily, seeing first-hand how impactful the role nurses play is within not only the healthcare industry, but their local communities has only motivated him more.

Join us in celebrating National Nursing Week

Do you want to celebrate a nurse in your community? By using the hashtag #IKnowANurse, you can help spotlight a nurse in your community that has gone above and beyond to ensure that you or someone you love's healthcare journey is one that is profoundly positive. 

Whether you are sharing a story of a friend, family member, a nurse who has left you with a lasting impression, or you are a nurse looking to impart on us a personal experience—share your story as part of National Nursing Week 2022.