National Nursing Week

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.

‘Our mandate’ 

“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

10 thoughts on “National Nursing Week

    May 10, 2019

    Actually whoever wrote this story don’t realize Lpns and Pcas are just as important in the role of nursing care as rns and in some cases more important. I suggest the next time you write your big story do your homework.

  2. Diana
    May 10, 2019

    You did an article on Nursing week and left out the LPN!!!! Wow! We make up a large number of Nurses who provide quality health care in this province! How could you not include the LPN? Shame on you!

  3. Shaina
    May 10, 2019

    Nice of you to completely ignore LPN s who are just as vital as RN s. The only difference is we take charge of stable pt s and defer if the pt becomes unstable, i give meds, do personal care, do assessments, chart, take vitals, give insulin , check glucose readings, give EKG s , do neuro checks, give IV s and am responsible for my pt s well being. We work side by side doing 12 hr shifts and you just completely ignored us and added to this ridiculous stigma, that we are “not nurses” there s about 4 LPNS to every 1 RN, so who do you think is lookong after your loved one.
    I had to go to university, complete a recognized program and write a national exam to become liscenced, i pay this province a ridiculous amount of money (considering we have ZERO support and we get nothing from the college here) for that liscence that i must maintain and uphold yearly.

    Give credit where credit is due.

    Shame on you Herald. You us an apology.

  4. Rebecca LeDrew
    May 10, 2019

    How very sad that you think the nursing compliment is made up of RN’s only. The lack of education and knowledge re who provides nursing care is utterly disrespectful to the LPN whose scope can be as broad as the workplace allows them , with an amazing knowledge base and skill set to provide nursing care comparable to the once RN two year program from years ago and the PCA ‘s who provide direct patient care every day. Shame on you .

  5. Dale Mercer
    May 10, 2019

    Yes…. very disappointing… we LPN’s pay a crucial role in caring for YOU and YOUR loved ones!! It’s disheartening to be overlooked when we work along sides of the RN’s and damn hard too I must say!! Yes.. shame on you!

    • Dale Mercer
      May 10, 2019

      And…..Dillon Collins…..if and when you ever need medical service take note who’ll be doing your care.

  6. Cynthia Whiteway
    May 10, 2019

    Very disappointed that you did not see fit to recognize the Practical Nurses for nursing week. I suggest the next time you visit a hospital but especially long- term care take note of which nurse is doing what, RN’s are a very valuable part of the nursing Team but it is a team.

  7. Dorinda
    May 10, 2019

    True story, you are leaving out an integral part of the system! Who else do you think does assessing, administer meds, see patients at their worst and constantly work the front line? Sadly someone did not do their homework or did they……..? hmmm maybe it was intentional. Shame on “The Newfoundland herald.”

  8. Melissa
    May 10, 2019

    I agree, Very disheartening that Licensed Practical Nurses are left out of this story. LPN’s play a huge part of health care and it’s sad that the media and Public don’t recognize this. Nursing Week encompass all kinds of different nurses. A little research by the editor may have played a role in this article 🙁

  9. Doreen Pender
    May 11, 2019

    Once again LPN’s have been completely left out of the Nursing week celebration. Only in Newfoundland are LPN’s treated as if they are not REAL nurses. Everywhere else LPN’s are treated like the professional Nurses they are and they are appreciated as such. LPN’s have a very heavy workload and perform their duties to the highest degree, often they are mandated to stay and work extra hours and are constantly working short staffed, despite this they still have a smile on their face. Right now we are facing a severe LPN staff shortage, especially here in Corner Brook, with a new 150 bed LTC home scheduled to open in February 2020. Without enough staff this building will not open( of course because it was built as a private build that Government will lease, we will still need to pay the monthly lease whether it is opened or not) They need more LPN’s but there are not enough people wanting to go into training for this job. Who wants a job where you are not respected, your skill, knowledge, and proficiency is either ignored or attacked regularly?? In the workplace there are still people who look down on your profession and doubt your skill set. Now add on working 12 hour shifts, getting mandated to stay another 4 hours, working nights, weekends, Christmas, working short staffed, unable to get vacation because there is no relief staff available.This job is also very strenuous physically and mentally. So why do we do it?? We do it because we are NURSES and we empathize with the sick, the dying and aged and we want to help our patients in any way possible. We want to nurse them back to health. Is it to much to ask that our efforts be noted and accepted as NURSING? I always read the Herald but this short sighted and biased version celebrating only a small fraction of Nurses for Nursing week has encouraged me to read something with a little more substance.

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