NNPBC is pleased to collaborate with the Alberta Association of Nurses (AAN), the Association of Regulated Nurses of Manitoba (ARNM), the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN) on the #HeyNurse campaign to celebrate nurses this National Nursing Week.
In honour of Nursing Week (May 8 - 14), a group of nursing associations from across Canada has come together to launch the #HeyNurse social media campaign.
Nursing Week is the annual celebration of the profession and an opportunity to recognize nurses from all sectors.
This campaign is for the public so you can tell a nurse or a group of nurses that you appreciate their work and/or you want to thank them for the care you or a loved one received.
Is there a nurse that you want give a shout out to? How has a nurse made an impact in your life? Tell us about your experience and how a nurse was there for you.
Share your message, photo and/or video using the hashtag #HeyNurse on social media (Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram).
Please join us for a webinar on May 8 at 10am PT/1pm ET for the official launch of this campaign. Register online.
To learn more, please visit HeyNurse.ca.
How to participate:
To recognize nurses in your community or to share your gratitude for how a nurse has helped you or your loved ones, post your message, photo* and/or video with the official hashtag: #HeyNurse on social media (Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram). For those who are not active on social media, but would still like to participate, please send us your photo, video and/or messages at the Dropbox below and we will share your message with the world.
*If you have a photo or video of a nurse you would like to share, please ensure you have permission.
This campaign was developed by the following nursing associations with a goal to highlight the critical role nurses play in the health-care system and recognize their skills and dedication.
The Alberta Association of Nurses was created by nurses, for nurses. It is Alberta's first profession-inclusive nursing association, meaning all nurses - LPNs, NPs, RPNs, RNs, nursing students and retired nurses - belong here. Its purpose is to enhance, promote and to advocate for all nursing professions. The AAN wants to connect members and to provide services, supports and resources to help members achieve professional excellence.
The Association of Regulated Nurses of Manitoba is the professional association representing licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs), nurse practitioners (NPs), registered nurses (RNs), graduate nurses, nursing students and former registered nurses in Manitoba.
CNA is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing. Our mission is to advance the nursing profession to improve health outcomes in Canada's publicly funded, not-for-profit health system. CNA is the only national association that speaks for all types of nurses across all 13 provinces and territories. We represent nurses that are unionized and non-unionized, retired nurses, nursing students, and all categories of nurses (registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed and registered practical nurses, and registered psychiatric nurses).
The Association of Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC (NNPBC) represents all four nursing designations in BC - registered nurses (RNs), registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) as well as retired nurses, nursing students, and internationally educated nurses. As the first professional nursing association in Canada to unite all nursing designations, NNPBC harnesses the strength of the profession while also promoting excellence in nursing practice, education, research and leadership. Working together nurses positively influence health and social policy through nursing led solutions and innovations.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Founded in 1958, WeRPN is the voice of registered practical nursing in Ontario. There are more than 50,000 RPNs working in Ontario, playing a vital role in the province’s health care system.
Social media graphics
Download and use the below graphics on your social media channels to share with your followers and spread the word about #HeyNurse.
NOTE: To write your own message on the social media graphics, please download and open in your preferred design program: Canva, Paint, Photoshop, Illustrator.
This early experience with my father stayed with me forever. As I went through elementary, junior, and senior high, my goal was to continue studies in nursing, which is exactly what I did.
I graduated in 1988, as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Edmonton, Alberta. I began my nursing career at the local care home and continued there for two years working in intermediate and extended care. In 1990 I began acute care nursing at the local hospital (Fort St. John), where I have now been working for 30 years.
My passion for nursing remains strong both in my heart and soul. As part of my job I’m fortunate to assist patients/clients with their activities of daily living and I am able to help encourage them to overcome obstacles that occur along their journey. Whether I am performing nursing duties that include both physical and emotional aspects to using the machines that assist in healing, I love it all.
I have had many experiences in my 33 years of nursing and would not change any of them for the world.
I like to share the following: Always remember why you became a nurse. Smile as much as you can, cry when you need to, think positively and never forget the fundamentals of nursing. The little things are just as important as the big. Find ways to de-stress when you are away from patients/clients. Look after yourself because the patients/clients need you as a whole person. Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you.
By Briana Trottier, Mental Health Nurse
I had no idea what I wanted to do for a long time. In high school, I struggled to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life, while it seemed everyone around me had everything figured out. All I knew at the time is that human biology appealed to me, and it seemed to be the only class that I was able to keep up with during a time that I was experiencing active suicidal ideations. Almost every day I came home from school on the bus and would think about stepping into traffic. I felt pretty miserable about myself.
I started off university having no clue where I was going to end up. I took business classes, sciences, computer sciences, English and then eventually landed into the social sciences. Something just clicked. I started to actually enjoy learning about people, society and how the world functions.
Throughout this time, I was going through some personal struggles. As I got accepted into the psychiatric nursing program at Kwantlen, I knew that I had undiagnosed depression, with passive suicidal ideations. It took me a long time to actually go get help and to talk to my GP about it. It had been going on for almost a decade, and I practically went through all of nursing school without getting help. I was lucky enough to have peers in the program that listened and supported me, as well as an amazing partner. I had found that my personal struggles started to affect my mental health to the point where I became unmotivated to do assignments, which was unlike me as I enjoyed my program. I eventually had enough of my suicidal ideations, as it got to the point where I could not stop thinking about it constantly. This is when I finally reached out for help. I set up an appointment with the GP, who perscibed me medications. That same day, I walked into the pharmacy with nothing but suicidal ideations on my mind., something no one would be able to tell by just looking at me. I have come to learn that this is a common theme in mental health. Sometimes, people need to hit rock bottom before they finally do something about it. You never know what someone is really going through, and ensuring we remember our humanity is something that is often overlooked in a busy society.
Mental health nursing appealed to me. I wanted to help people that needed it most, that were often overlooked, and stigmatized by family and society. I had experienced it myself. Doctors and psychiatrists often don’t have the appropriate amount of time to really sit down and just talk. What made nursing stand out to me is that we have a chance to be there when someone needs it. People go through all sorts of traumas in their lives. I've personally felt the urge, just as many of the clients I have encountered, to use substances to cope. While I have learned other skills to cope, some choose substances and may live hard lives as a result. Trauma, mental health and substance use are often treated as separate problems, but they are all connected. We are just now starting to change our outlook on this but there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
I'm proud to say that I graduated with my Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing (BSPN) in December of 2020 despite being in the middle of a pandemic. I intend on spending the rest of my career not only at the bedside, but also advocating for people who can’t. Experiencing the personal turmoil of mental health has helped me to empathize with patients. Empathy is a skill that is difficult to teach to others but is something that I’ve learned to embrace in my own nursing practice throughout the last decade of my personal struggles. We are all people that need support at one time or another. I know I have a lot to learn, and that I am inexperienced. I also know I have something that nobody can take away from me, a passion to help the people that make up our communities who are often overlooked and marginalized. I also know I'm not the only one out there. Support your new grads, help us learn and grow and help us enhance our practice. I promise, you won’t regret it. Someday, it will be our generation who will be making policies and transforming healthcare. I just hope that I can be a small part of that change.
Celine Loriot, RN Student
Nurses aim to help their patients get back to their baseline. For example, they exercise their clinical decision-making skills when determining which IV solution to administer to their patients based on their fluid and electrolyte imbalance. I decided to write an acrostic poem, "SALINE," to demonstrate why I chose the nursing profession, my favorite part about being a nursing student, and what I look most forward to in my nursing career.
- Lifelong learning
- Interprofessional communication
- Nursing knowledge & decision making
My path into nursing is a non-traditional one and a venture later in life. Being a nurse was not something I always aspired to be. I came to nursing from a past career history in law enforcement, investigations and as a Coroner. It was my last two years in the BC Coroners Service in my role as Manager of the Child Death Review unit that caused me to think more about what I could do to prevent fatalities or serious injuries instead of putting forth recommendations after the fact. One of the advantages in death investigation is the benefit of forensic medical expertise which is not often afforded to those who survive intentional or non-intentional trauma. So, my goal was to try and bring this education to nursing and highlight the many applications of this expertise in a variety of settings.
I went back to school again. It was not an easy journey for me as a male in his forties with four other males in a class with 62 females mostly in their early twenties. However, I prevailed and obtained my BSN from BCIT, a forensic nursing certificate from the University of California, Riverside and then a MSN (educator track with a forensic component) from Aspen University in Colorado. I began my RN career at Royal Columbian Hospital on an acute medical unit.
From the hospital, I moved to WorkSafeBC's fatal and serious injury investigation section applying my forensic medical expertise in both fatality and serious injury workplace incident investigations. I integrated all my previous expertise with nursing to provide "living forensics" in a way that I was unable to as a Coroner.
I had already been teaching death investigation and about sudden unexpected infant deaths at BCIT Forensic Health Sciences from my Coroner days and I continued in this role, teaching nurses topics such child and elder abuse, crime scenes and evidence collection, medicolegal documentation, interpersonal violence, and the forensic evaluation of injuries in addition to death investigation.
I worked for a couple of years in the role of Program Coordinator at BCIT for Forensic Health Sciences until the pandemic hit but stepped back from that role to jump back on the frontline, to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations in an overwhelmed healthcare system. I have presented at several International Association of Forensic Nurses conferences and have published articles in the Journal of Forensic Nursing and the BC Medical Journal.
Currently, I continue to teach nurses interested in the forensic field by providing an overview to forensic nursing applications in both the healthcare and investigative setting. I am also part of the forensic nursing program at BCIT that provides the education necessary for nurses in the province to perform the role of sexual assault nurse examiner. I am pleased to be able to draw from my unique and considerable expertise to pass on my knowledge to other nurses in this emerging and important specialty in nursing and meet my goals when entering nursing.
Colin Harris BSc.(Crim), BSN, MSN, RN, AFN-BC, F-ABMDI.
Eunice Bawafaa, RN, MScN, Doctoral Student
I became a nurse because I care!
- Life has always been more meaningful being there for others when they can't fully perform all their activities of daily living.
- Life makes more meaning when I am there for my clients when no one else seems to be there.
- Life has more value when I understand my clients in ways that no one else does.
- Life has more beauty when my clients smile through their pains just knowing that I am there and know what they are going through.
- I became a nurse because I wanted to be the pillar that was visible and strong when no other pillars could carry the same "value".
- I am a nurse because I wanted to be the voice of the voiceless in healthcare.
- I am a nurse because I love being there for my clients both physically and psychologically.
- I am a nurse who has a reassuring smile that says "ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST".
- I am fulfilled just being a nurse with a caring smile.
Jean Claudine Garces
With my love for science, biology, chemistry, weird stuff and helping people, I knew I wanted be a nurse since I was a teenager, and I became one 7 years ago. Being a nurse gives me the great pleasure of meeting people with diverse backgrounds from all walks of life. Patients are more than patients – they are people and I learn their story. I enjoy making a difference even if it's a 12 hours shift or more. I believe that every day I will touch a life or a life will touch mine. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my life so I will choose this profession over and over again.
Jean Claudine Garces, RN.
Kaitlyn Grabove, RN
I became a nurse to ease suffering, help people heal, to make a little ripple which may turn into a wave... and to travel!
Karen Schafer, RN
I became a nurse because... Karen Schafer's story as told by Jim Hinton
While this was written by Karen’s husband Jim Hinton for International Nurses Day, the story speaks beautifully about why Karen became a nurse. It is shared with her permission. Thank you Karen and Jim!
In light of International Nurses day 2020 I thought I should share my wife, Karen Schafer's nursing story.
Karen has known since she was nine that she wanted to be a nurse, after a serious childhood illness that put her in the hospital for two weeks. She saw the good that nurses do for their patients and knew instantly that nursing was her calling.
Karen went to Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing, which is where we met. She lived in a nurse's residence on Heather Street which connected to the hospital via a series of tunnels which I learned to navigate when I'd overstayed my welcome (11pm curfew) and needed to sneak out.
When she graduated as a Registered Nurse, the 1983 recession didn't offer many job opportunities - even for nurses. Eventually Karen was offered a job on the VGH burn unit where she worked for three years. I recall those being very tough years with some pretty heart wrenching stories, but she handled them all so professionally and compassionately. Some of the patients were in hospital for almost a year, in excruciating pain. Some did not survive but she was always there to comfort the patients and their families. On the toughest days she would come home and have a good cry, before going to bed, then be up again the next day for another twelve-hour shift.
After her time on the burn unit, Karen went to Vancouver Children's Hospital to nurse premature babies and their moms. I recall going for a tour once where Karen held a baby that was no bigger than a pound of butter. She had dressed the baby in cabbage patch doll clothes - the only clothes that would fit. Many of the premature babies did not survive. I recall the first baby who died while Karen was working there. It was very hard on her and I couldn’t believe she could go to work the next day, but she did. The hospital didn't offer much support in those days. PTSD was never mentioned, it wasn’t a "thing".
In 1988 we moved to the Cayman Islands for three years. Karen's first task there was to look after the youngest premature baby ever born there at the time (26 weeks). While in Cayman she assisted the midwives in many deliveries (something she didn't do in Canada). While working in Canada and Cayman she noticed the lack of mom’s breastfeeding, and the push to formula feed. Karen sought to change that by becoming a Lactation Consultant after a year long course. Karen worked to educate Cayman nurses, doctors and mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding. When she moved back to Canada she worked as a postpartum nurse at Women's Hospital and with the Vancouver Breastfeeding Clinic helping new moms to breastfeed.
Karen spent many more years at BC Children and Women's hospital (BCWH) looking after complex newborns. Again, there are many gut wrenching stories of those who made it and those who did not. For those who didn't, Karen made infant foot moulds for the families. I recall when she told me of her plan and while I thought it was too morbid, the families were so happy to receive them. The moulds were made of casting material that was donated to her by her dentist.
After 15 years of twelve-hour shifts Karen went back to school at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to get her BSc degree in nursing. When she returned to nursing, she took an educator position where she taught new neonatal nurses the tasks of looking after complex newborns. She helped develop many of the courses that are still in use today. In 2010, Haiti was struck by a massive earthquake. Hundreds of thousands were killed. It was at this time Karen connected with Rose Charities. Through Rose, and many generous donations from family and friends, Karen took the courses she'd been teaching at BCWH, had them translated into French and then coordinated a Canadian team of French speaking nurses and doctors to teach the courses in Haiti. She sent a team to Haiti every year for eight years and often accompanied them. Our son Johnathan and I were fortunate to go with her one year. Even during this global pandemic, she pondered the thought of offering the courses through Zoom.
In 2012 she was offered the opportunity to build a Simulation Program at Children & Women's. The bones were there, but not the program. This was a great creative endeavor and Karen excelled at this, her new passion.
Today Karen is a simulation expert. She built and manages the Vancouver Coastal Health Regional Simulation Program and the Coastal Simulation Centre/Program at Lions Gate Hospital. She received a National Award last year in recognition for her work in this field. In normal times she is working with teams of medical professionals creating and delivering healthcare simulations to hone their skills for when difficult situations happen for real. Nothing makes her happier than when she hears that a simulation scenario happened for real and the team responds successfully thanks to their opportunity to practice.
During the first wave of COVID-19, she worked with teams assisting in training for the impending storm of patients which would hopefully never come. Now during the second wave of COVID-19, she is coming to the end of this part of her career. I don't think it is really over, just shifting.
Karen is just one of many millions of nurses world-wide. Her story is just one of many who should be thanked and congratulated for their dedicated hard work. She’s an inspiration to me, Johnathan, and I know many people who know her.
I hope you are continuing to bang your pots and pans every night at 7pm!!
Dr. Shelley Canning, RN, PhD GNC(c)
I became a nurse not quite accidentally, but certainly hesitantly...I stayed a nurse because it has become a piece of who I am. I'm a proud UBC SON grad and still believe strongly in the important role we all play:)
Thanks for all you do NNPBC folks to support nursing as an identity and profession.
Sherri Kensall, RN, MSN, CNeph(C), CDE, GNC(C)
NNPBC Board Chair, Sherri Kensall shares why she became a nurse.
I became a nurse because I was eager to make a change in my community. After nursing school, I went into cardiac medicine and surgery. Then, COVID-19 spread and I left to help in infection control. This was a role I had no idea about. I didn’t know if I was prepared. I was scared. I was nervous, but I wanted to help the communities that needed it most – the long term care outbreaks.
I love being a nurse because during this time, I’ve been able to de-escalate high emotions and help people feel a sense of safety, protection and empowerment. I love being able to foster meaningful relationships with other health care professionals, patients, residents and family members.
With kind regards,
Tammi Guimond, LPN
I became a nurse because... I wanted to help people who were sick and in the hospital. I started nursing as a candy striper! I wanted to get that little white hat and be responsible for important things. My then view of nursing was a sick patient in the hospital. Now of course I know the picture is much larger. Nursing is about the health of an individual person, how they came to be sick, where they are on their healing journey in their mind, body and spirit and if they feel self actualized and can enjoy their community. Nursing is about helping those individuals get what they expect from life and what they’re seeking for their own individual health goals.
For me in my career away from direct patient care, nursing is reviewing the health of the large community of people to make sure they're living the way they want to, without pain or anxiety. Nursing for me now is also making sure nurses are supported so they can carry out the good work that they do across all domains in nursing. I became a nurse because I wanted the little white hat, but I got a whole lot more. I really wanted to be a nurse. I still do.
Teresa McFadyen, LPN