Nurses in the News

National Nursing Week in Canada is around the corner (May 6 to 12) and it is fitting to think about nurses in the news and how our vast experiences and perspectives are profiled. We often talk about the need for a much greater presence in the public media in our communities and around the country.

Two nurses who are bringing their expertise to the public discussion about health care in Canada are Amie-Archibald Varley and Sara Fung, co-hosts of The Gritty Nurse Podcast and authors of The Wisdom of Nurses. Since the release of their book, they are in demand for interviews and book signings. As I’m reading their book, I’m thinking about their questions and the multiple issues they raise about the profession. I’m pleased to see the attention the book is getting on social media and to learn that it has become a bestseller already.

Amie and Sara pose the question: “How many famous nurses can you name?” and then go on to share profiles of nurses from the past as well as current nurses who are well-known for their advocacy and contributions to changes in nursing and health care in Canada. They weave in their own personal stories – including their experiences in nursing school – as they describe their career paths in hospitals and, ultimately, the realization that they needed to make changes in their professional lives. They have included chapters by contributing authors to round out diverse voices and experiences.

I have no hesitation in recommending it and hope that readers will discuss it with people in their workplaces, in policy meetings, and in nursing schools across the country. Part of that discussion could explore the collective influence of nurses, thinking beyond one individual “famous nurse” to the groups of courageous nurses who came together to form nursing associations and unions not only in the distant past but also within the last 25 to 50 years. I’m thinking of the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association, the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association, our national specialty groups, and the newly formed professional associations of the past 5 to 10 years, including the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC in my home province.

Looking beyond our borders, we can celebrate the voice of national and global nursing organizations exerting their collective influence in reforming health systems and leading vital policy work. A great example is found in this recent announcement from the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

Dr. Cipriano, president of ICN will co-chair the global Steering Committee on Universal Health Coverage, known as ‘UHC2030’ with Dr. Magda Robalo:

UHC2030 warmly welcomes new co-chairs Dr Magda Robalo and Dr Pamela Cipriano – UHC2030

I feel fortunate that I have known famous nurses in my nursing lifetime, both in Canada and in countries I have visited for conferences and as a consultant. Memorable individuals and visionary groups of nurse leaders give me hope this Nursing Week.

By Nora Whyte – April 29, 2024

I acknowledge with respect that I live and work on the Unceded traditional territory of the K’òmoks First Nation.