President’s Message

Dear PEINU members:

Mona O'Shea, PresidentIt is amazing for me to think that so much time has passed since I first became a Registered Nurse – 31 years! As an RN with that many years of nursing experience behind me, I look back on my time and reflect upon the state of our profession. With all the recent changes in staffing mix due to the employer’s implementation of the new model of care, I frequently hear from you, our members, about the new challenges you face in doing your day to day work. Regardless of the staffing changes, the one thing that has remained consistent is the expectation that the RNs will continue to take the lead in health care service delivery.

The quality of health care service delivery is dependant upon the leadership skills of our profession. We must be strong, consistent, and knowledgeable leaders. We must be visible, credible, and act with courage in the face of challenges that may seem insurmountable, so that we inspire courage in our colleagues and patients and clients.

Nursing leadership has many facets. It is evident in our roles as preceptors to students and mentors to colleagues. It is being “in-charge” of a unit or worksite and supervising the various staff who work there. It is the assumption of a variety of administrative duties that help units/sites function safely and efficiently. All Registered Nurses, regardless of their specific title or position, are faced with numerous opportunities for leadership.

As Registered Nurses, we have the most extensive education, knowledge base and expert health assessment skills in the nursing profession. We are responsible for the coordination of care and we determine the most appropriate care providers to meet the needs of the patients and clients. Without our expertise, care becomes fragmented and the potential for negative outcomes increases.

As leaders, we need to be adaptable and able to respond to a constantly changing healthcare environment. As Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners, we know nursing roles are evolving. Our roles are becoming more specialized, more autonomous, more accountable, and more focused on outcomes. How each of us individually responds to these new expectations has the potential to positively or negatively impact the profession as a whole. And so the call to embrace the role of the leader should be acknowledged and accepted by all RNs.

Speaking from the perspective of a senior nurse, and looking back on my leadership experiences, I always tried to encourage junior nurses to work towards gaining a better understanding of their patients and their needs and values. As senior nurses, we must acknowledge the importance of our experience; we need to recognize that junior staff rely on our leadership in developing their own professional nursing skills.

Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly viewed as role models by others. It is important to always act with integrity, to set realistic goals, to communicate clearly, to recognize the success of your team and to inspire our colleagues to provide the best care possible. Nursing is no longer just about getting tasks done. It is about the art of combining knowledge gained through extensive education and skills acquired through years of experience. It is balancing our patients’ needs for physical care and emotional care. It is one of society’s most valued and valuable professions.

An Effective and Capable Nurse Leader:

  • identifies themself to their patients/clients;
  • understands what they need to do and approaches every patient/client/resident with an assured, competent and caring attitude;
  • confidently faces challenges, communicates clearly and consistently, shares ideas and fosters collaboration among the nursing team, while remembering to always listen;
  • takes part in classes, courses, and seminars beyond what is expected or required to be competent and maintain licensure;
  • watches for and takes advantage of opportunities to learn new skills;
  • is focused on being the best, most knowledgeable and talented nurse possible because other nurses around you will take note and mirror your skills and leadership qualities;
  • stays current in their profession.

Strong nursing leadership is fundamental not only to the continuing credibility of the nursing profession, but to achieving high quality care. I urge you, as proud RNs and NPs, to embrace, demonstrate and build upon your leadership skills as the irreplaceable leaders you are in PEI’s health care system.

Nursing is challenging, rewarding, inspiring and heartbreaking. We see people at their worst. We see life beginning and ending. Most people will come in contact with us at some point in their lives; whether it is as a child in school being taught about making healthy food choices or as an adult learning to cope with a life altering disease. At some point, a Registered Nurse will make a difference in the lives of every person. Some will love us, some will blame us and some will thank us.

Looking Forward:

The past year has been one of concern and anxiety for those of us in the nursing profession. With everything that is happening to health care and, subsequently to health care providers, it is difficult to give a clear picture of where we are, or even where we are heading when events that occur are unexpected and without warning. As nurses, we continue to bear the brunt of excessive workload and ever-changing environments. Yes, despite the upheaval, you continue to provide the quality of care your patients, clients, and residents deserve.

As your President, I want you to know that I will continue to speak out for Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners in all sectors. I will remind Government and the public of your priceless contributions. Using the experience I have gained over the past four years as your President, I will continue to advocate for you and represent your best interests as PEINU members. I am confident that a solution can be found when we all work together. We all have a part if we wish to work in an environment that is supportive and promotes the advancement of our Nursing Profession.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Directors, Executive and Staff of PEINU. I am extremely grateful for your commitment to your work and within the Union.

In solidarity,

Mona O’Shea, RN