With National Nursing Week, the ARNNL continue to hold the nurses of this province to the highest possible standard of practice and care
From birth to death, our lives are inextricably linked to nurses. They are the backbone of our health care work force, with some 6,700 nurses living and working in Newfoundland and Labrador in all variety of roles and disciplines.
Standard of excellence
May 6-12 marks National Nursing Week, a time to draw attention to nurses, increasing the awareness of the public, policy-makers and governments of the many contributions of nursing to the well-being of Canadians.
Lynn Power and Elaine Warren of the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL) know the demanding lifestyle all too well. Together the pair have some 75 years of experience in the field. Today they and the ARNNL help to instill and regulate the guidelines that serve as the cornerstone of the nursing profession, holding each and every employee to the highest standard of excellence, to insure patients across the province are given the very best in quality and care.
“It’s an organization that is set up to, basically, make sure that the registered nurses and nurse practitioners of the province are providing the quality care that the people expect,” shared Power, the Executive Director of ARNNL.
“We set the standards, the goal rules, the absolutes, the broader sweep that supposedly sets everything up for the nurses to be in the right place, and to know the right things. That ultimately leads to better health care.”
Formed as a regulatory body in 1954 with the establishment of the Registered Nurses Act and acceptance into the Canadian Nurses Association, the ARNNL have held a responsibility to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for 65 years.
The fundamentals have remained the same for six-plus decades, and will continue to be so when an amendment to the Registered Nurses Act sees the ARNNL re-branded as The College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador on September 1st of this year.
“Our accountability and responsibilities is to the public,” shared Warren, President of ARNNL and the Vice President of Clinical Services for Eastern Health.
“So our mandate as nurses is that we have to ensure that the practicing clinicians in Newfoundland and Labrador are at the highest possible standards to meet the needs of our patients. Whether individual patients or communities or populations.”
Sixty-five years of medical and technological innovations have brought with it a widening and rapid growth of the modes and methods of which nurses operate.
“I think nursing is one of the professions in health care that truly has evolved extremely rapidly to meet the needs of our patients, populations, communities and health care systems,” says Warren. “Nurses are known to be very innovative and creative in meeting the needs of our people where they are and whatever point they are in their lives.”
“I think one thing you can say is that nursing has evolved in response to increased technology, all the electronic versus a glass bottle of an I.V. So there’s that type of continuous learning and evolving as the system changes and technology changes,” adds Power. “The nursing profession needs to learn new things and how to apply different skills and respond to things. But there’s also changes in nursing roles and scope related to socio demographic changes in the population.”
But regardless of the changing structures, modes and methods of the nursing world, the practice and execution of the fundamentals remains the same.
“Yes there’s been a lot of technology, a lot of health system changes and changing roles, but what hasn’t changed over those 65 years? The fundamentals have been the same,” Power explains.
“The professionalism, the empathy, the attention to quality of care. We say we’re there 24/7 and we are. We’re in every nook and cranny of this province. There’s nowhere you could go that you wouldn’t see a nurse. Nowhere in your lifespan from birth to death or anywhere in between that you won’t come across a registered nurse or nurse practitioner. So that’s the piece that hasn’t changed.”
‘Heart of health care’
“Nurses are known for being the 24/7 caregivers in our acute care system, the backbone of public health in our communities,” adds Warren. “And nurses are still the heart of health care. They’re people are at the frontline … I think throughout the province and throughout the country they’re helping guide the health care system as a whole.”
National Nursing Week here in the province and across the country provides that opportunity to give back, with something so small as a nod or thank you, to the tireless workers who make up the bedrock of our health care system.
“It really gives us time to reflect on the valuable role that nursing and nurses plays, not only in our hospitals but in our communities and in our prison systems and in our public health form,” says Warren on National Nursing Week. “There’s nurses everywhere in Newfoundland in every role you could think possible that weree never envisioned years ago.”
“The gratitude you get from the people you serve is what makes it all worth it,” adds Power. “You might have a crazy busy day and things might have went wrong and you might have had a complaint but the next day you go in and you get four compliments and you forgot about that complaint … And I think every individual nurse has come across multiple thank you’s in their life and that’s what they remember. That’s what I remember.”
For more on the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador visit arnnl.ca