Wednesday November 26, 2014

Nurses Week celebrated in Canada


This year’s national nursing week will take place May 7-13.

In 1971 the International Council of Nurses designated May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, as International Nurse’s Day. Several years later, the first national nursing week was celebrated in 1985 to highlight nurse’s contributions to the well being of Canadian public.

As many of you know, Nightingale is best known around the world as the “lady with the lamp” who nursed British soldiers during the Crimean war and turned nursing into a profession. Nightingale died on August 13, 1910 at the age of90.

Prior to the founding of modern nursing, nuns and the military usually provided nursing-like care. The religious and military roots are still evident today in many countries, for example in the United Kingdom, senior female nurses are known as Sisters.

Although the event is celebrated internationally, Canada chooses to hold theirs independently on a different date.

The 2012 Canadian theme is Nurses- The Health of our Nation. It reflects the positive impact nurses make to the lives and well-being of Canadians.

Canadian nursing dates all the way back to 1639 in Quebec with the Augustine nuns. These nuns were dedicated to opening up a Mission that cared for spiritual and physical needs of patients. This Mission later went on to create the first nursing apprenticeship training in North America.

At the end of the nineteenth century, hospital care and medical services had been improved and expanded due to Florence Nightingale who was training women in English Canada. In 1874 the first formal nursing training program was started at the General and Marine Hospital in St. Catharines in Ontario. Many programs popped up in hospitals across Canada after this and graduates and teachers from these programs began to fight for licensing legislation and for professional organizations for nurses.

More changes began to occur after World War II, the health care system expanded and Medicare was introduced.

Registered nurses are extremely important for smaller communities, as many only have one doctor. In Canada we are lucky enough to have nurses who are legally allowed to prescribe medication.

Currently there are approximately 260,000 nurses in Canada but nurses are becoming scarcer and the population of baby boomers is aging which requires more nursing care.

The only major event mentioned on the Nursing Association’s web site was that of National telehealth education which was held at the Regina General Hospital, May 9.

Take a few moments to honor your community’s nurses. Say thanks, or give them a small sentimental gift in appreciation for what they do on a daily basis.



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