To my Albertan community members and fellow nurses,
It is surreal to think of the recent past, present and future as being lived in the presence of a pandemic. In over 30 years of my nursing career, this is a new experience for me, and I am sure for many of you. Worry permeates from our immediate family, friends and coworkers to our province, nation and the worldwide situation. Our lives have been fundamentally changed.
As an eternally optimistic person, I noticed even in the earliest moments of the looming changes the COVID-19 pandemic would make to our existence, there was strength to be found. Yes, to be fair, there are many examples of strength across our communities but as a nurse, I want to speak to the strength of nurses.
I have seen and continue to see the many faces of nurses and places where they have made an impact to the care of Albertans. With both quiet and not so quiet resolve nurses are working diligently and with expertise crucial to provide the best care. Registered nurses alone are the largest group of clinical professionals in our health care system. We are many and we are needed.
I am enjoying the countless messages and gestures through social media thanking nurses! As Board Chair of ARNET, a leading charity that support RNs and NPs in their ongoing education, I wondered how we could also be part of the gratitude train. The entire ARNET team – largely made up of nurses — is committed to working with nurses, for nurses and through nurses to improve patient and family care.
People have asked, “How can we best thank the nurses who are braving this outbreak?” I think the answers are many as nurses tend to welcome all forms of gratitude. So keep doing what you can in the best way you can! If you are looking for an enduring gesture of thanks, the ARNET team would like to offer the option of contributing to the Pandemic Nurses Education Fund. This fund has been specially created to help nurses get the skills they need to manage public health challenges now and in the future. Right now, there are thousands of nurses working the frontlines of the Novel Coronavirus response — in hospitals, in nursing homes and in public health. Every day, they take on the risk of becoming ill themselves.
The newness of this pandemic means new research and education strategies are needed to support the work of nurses and ultimately support the care of Albertans. Our campaign is called Braving the Outbreak (#bravingtheoutbreak, #AlbertaRNTrust). I invite you to connect with us and join in a lasting way of giving thanks to nurses across the province.
On behalf of ARNET Board Members and Staff, we wish you and your families good health of heart, mind and body,
Sincerely, Shireen Bell, Board Chair of ARNET