Eight years ago, I was elected President of the PEI Nurses’ Union and, while I have learned a great deal along the way, the challenges are never ending. The health care system is in a constant state of change and I am always looking at how these changes are affecting our profession. Trying to anticipate changes that the government is going to make is perhaps the biggest challenge to date. How these changes are going to affect members’ workloads and work-lives are at the forefront of my mind. I realize how frustrating it is to be kept in the dark, especially when the changes are directly impacting your work on a daily basis.
Even though we often feel understaffed and overworked I would like to remind you that RNs and NPs are the leaders in health care delivery in this Province. The leadership role each member plays is a fundamental part of our profession and is supported by our expert knowledge and highly advanced assessment skills. At the heart of Nursing is the capacity to provide physical care with emotional care; It is the art of combining scientific knowledge, skills acquired through education and experience with nurturing and compassion. Nursing is one of society’s most valued and trusted professions. It is, therefore, up to us to resist the negative forces and stay true to who we are as RNs and NPs.
We know that Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners provide the best value to the health care system. We must continue to ensure that the roles of the RN and NP are not undervalued, diminished or replaced. To support these goals, the Union launched a weekly #RNAdvantage campaign in local papers featuring the key roles that RNs and NPs play in the health care delivery model in this province. I want to thank those members who volunteered their time to be a part of this very important message to the public.
With so much change happening around us, now more than ever, we need to ensure our readiness as a Union, as individuals and as a profession. We can – in solidarity – make a substantial difference if we continue to advocate for our patients, promote the value of our profession and push for improvements in our health care system. The PEINU will continue to be a leader and respected voice of reason among our peers, affiliates, partners and government.
I have said this in the past and I will repeat it – our success is determined by our attitude, our energy, our balance, and connecting with each other. Be proud of who you are and what you do. You are Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners- you DO make a difference!
I am extremely grateful for your commitment to your work. I am appreciative of your diligent work efforts related to ongoing projects and for ensuring these projects are completed.
To all committee members and others involved at the local level, thank you for your commitment and contribution. Your work does not go unnoticed. I also want to give my personal thanks for your support and confidence in me, as PEINU President.
I have only touched on a few key topics from this past year – if I was to highlight everything we have worked on, you would be reading for a week! This Union is not about 1 person, it is about all of us – our union and the work we can do to make our work lives better. Achieving work life and personal life balance is a challenge at the best of times. Sometimes we push those boundaries, thinking we can do it all at once. If there is something I’ve learned from my many mentors over the last eight years it is this: do what you can in the time that you have, recognizing that everything takes time, and you don’t have to be on the journey alone. Each of you has the ability to find something you are passionate about and speak up about it. I believe that being united within our Union and standing up and speaking out together is where our strength lies. Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success. We will come together at our AGM, we will strengthen our conviction and we will continue to work together in the future. This will help us achieve our goals. In order to help reach our goals – we must have trust, respect, make decisions based on consensus, be engaged, deal with the issues as they arise, work hard, find our voices and believe in ourselves.
We all have values, experience and expertise. I’m asking you to stand up and speak out for yourselves, your co-workers, your residents, clients and patients, for public health care, public services and for your profession. I work at doing it every day. There is no better feeling than knowing you have found your voice and are using it to make the world a little better than you found it.
As your President, I want you to know that I will continue to “speak up” for Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners in all sectors.
I will remind Government and the public of your invaluable contribution to health care delivery. We will have a part to play if we want to work in environments that are supportive and that promote the advancement of our Nursing Profession. Using the experience I have gained over the past eight years, I will continue to advocate for all PEINU members.
I would like to remind members that PEINU is YOU. It is solidarity and strength in numbers that makes PEINU such a strong, united and respected organization.
Mona O’Shea RN, President