MONDAY marks the start of National Nursing Week – a celebration of the nursing profession, an occupation that has most recently been pushed to its limits due to COVID-19.
And as BC’s politicians send messages of thanks in recognition of the exceptional commitment nurses have shown to their patients, BCNU President Christine Sorensen is asking for government to go one step further and put their words into real action.
The BCNU says BC’s nurses have continually experienced difficulties accessing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) since the beginning of the pandemic. Their concerns are heightened as the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 was confirmed by the BC Centre for Disease Control last week, making appropriate access to PPE all the more essential to their personal safety.
Furthermore, despite the fact that BC ranks the lowest in the ratio of nurses to population in the country, no serious plans to address the nurse shortage have been given any priority by decades of BC governments, including the current one, says the BCNU.
“Our nurses are exhausted, showing signs of burn out and an overall decline in their mental health. The pandemic continues to expose just how vulnerable our health-care system truly is when it comes to not having enough nurses,” says Sorensen. “We need action on this now so that we have enough nurses to care for patients today and in the future. All British Columbians need to press government for a real plan to support the nurses we have and ensure we all have the professional nursing care we need.”
BCNU is asking everyone to join it this week in recognizing the crucial role nurses play every single day across BC, especially since the start of the pandemic. To support its members, the union is providing a series of virtual self-care events that focus on the well-being of nurses throughout National Nursing Week. The full line up of the week’s events can be found here.
“Collectively we need to support nurses as they cope with the pandemic. We felt National Nurses week was a good time to show our support for their mental health and all that they do every day for British Columbians,” says Sorensen.