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National Nurses Week 2021: Supporting our Nurses

National Nurses Week, May 10-16, is an opportunity to show our gratitude and our support to some of our most vital front-line professionals.

During this pandemic Ontario’s nurses have gone above and beyond to provide care. They have been a lighthouse in the midst of the storm.

OPSEU/SEFPO is proud to represent Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs), Registered Nurses, and Nurse Practitioners. They work everywhere from hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and independent living settings to child treatment centres, mental health workplaces and developmental services.

Every day, our members and nurses throughout the province provide care and compassion under the most stressful circumstances. They sacrifice their own well-being to ensure ours.

Nurses experience prolonged burnout, extreme fatigue and trauma due to the stressful working conditions made even worse by this pandemic. Staffing shortages have meant that many nurses have worked straight through the pandemic, without time off, and while isolating from friends and family.

Many of our members have lost income due to restrictions caused by the pandemic and potential wage increases have been capped due to Bill 124. OPSEU/SEFPO has filed a Charter challenge against Bill 124, but we hope the government sees the light and repeals this legislation.

This week, OPSEU/SEFPO will release a research paper on the mental health of nurses and risks of violence in their workplaces. We’ll make recommendations and hope that the government hears what our front-line members are saying.

OPSEU/SEFPO’s Nurses Week 2021 online events include a presentation by Dr. John Bradford (Founder Forensic Psychiatry, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada) on Vicarious Trauma and PTSD and a presentation by Tammy Whelan (Canadian Mental Health Association) on Compassion Fatigue. We hope all of OPSEU/SEFPO’s nurses can attend, or view the recordings (to be posted on the OPSEU RPN Facebook page).

To all nurses across the province, many of whom are OPSEU/SEFPO members: thank you for your dedication, professionalism, and sacrifice. You keep Ontario safe.

In solidarity,
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer