National Nursing Week, May 12-18, 2008
May 12, 2008

Edmonton, AB - National Nursing Week is the nursing profession’s annual opportunity to recognize and honour the contributions of registered nurses (RNs), a vital component of the health-care system. Many people still base their understanding of the profession on past stereotypes.

“Nurses are the unsung heroes in our health system,” says Margaret Hadley, president of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA). “Registered nurses are involved in every aspect of health care. They provide care, promote health and take their skills and experience to the classroom, the boardroom and the political arena. National Nursing Week is one opportunity to recognize and celebrate the remarkable contribution nurses are making day-in, day-out throughout the year.”

This year’s theme, Think you know nursing? Take a closer look, reflects the breadth and depth of the nursing profession. While direct care for individuals, families and communities forms the foundation of registered nursing, RNs can specialize in a wide variety of fields within the profession. The Canadian Nurses Association offers certification programs in 17 recognized nursing specialties.

“It is true that today’s nurses face unprecedented challenges but they also have unprecedented opportunities,” says Mary-Anne Robinson, CARNA’s executive director. “The nursing shortage is acting as a catalyst to remove barriers preventing registered nurses from working to the full extent of their knowledge and education. It has also highlighted the critical importance of providing support workers in hospitals and other facilities so that nurses can focus on their nursing roles. In Alberta’s hot labour market, it is often very difficult to recruit people for these positions, making the impact of the nursing shortage even more acute.”

RNs provide direct patient care in hospitals and in the community, lead research and international development initiatives, manage health resources, educate health professionals and have a strong presence in Canada’s military. Since promoting health and preventing illness are part of the foundation of nursing, RNs are actively involved in providing counselling and advocacy to keep Albertans healthy and out of hospitals.

“As the public understands more about the knowledge and expertise required to become a registered nurse, people will become more comfortable going directly to RNs for some of their health-care needs,” says Hadley. “Primary health-care networks and multi-disciplinary teams offer news ways for people to receive care from health professionals best equipped to provide it. It really is a time when people are taking a closer look at the registered nursing profession as a solution for the future.”

CARNA is the professional and regulatory body for Alberta’s more than 30,000 RNs, the largest health-care profession in the province. It sets nursing practice standards and ensures Albertans receive effective, safe and ethical nursing services.

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For more information, contact CARNA Media Relations.