Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his gratitude to nurses for their efforts during the pandemic and pledged to support them and keep them safe in the continuing struggle to defeat CIVID-19.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 11th ICN Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Practice Network Conference, which is being hosted virtually by the Nurse Practitioner Association of Nova Scotia, Canada, Mr Trudeau said:
“Thank you for your hard work and dedication throughout the pandemic. You’ve had our back on our toughest days. I want you to know that we will continue to have your backs too. We will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to keep you safe while we finish this fight against COVID-19. Together we will beat this virus.”
The theme of the conference, which has more than 1,000 delegates, is Envisioning Advanced Practice Nursing Beyond 2021: Wider Reach, Bigger Impact. In a welcome address, ICN President Annette Kennedy said advanced nursing roles are close to her heart, especially as she had worked most of her nursing career in intensive care and nurse education settings.
“I have watched developments over the last two decades, and I know that so much has happened throughout the world in this whole area of advanced practice and specialist education, and the great work that you are doing. And during COVID, this pandemic that has changed the world, you have done great work to reach out to the people most in need. I congratulate you on this and the way you have used technology and e-health – you have a lot to be proud of.
‘2020 was the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. We didn’t have time to celebrate, and we thought we didn’t have the time to showcase nursing. But COVID-19 did that for us. It showed that we are the backbone of health service and that nothing can be achieved without nurses.
‘We have work to do, but I know from the challenges you have met over the last two years, that you are well capable of it. I also think it’s time to push out the boundaries for gender equality. For me, it’s synonymous with our work, our role as nurses and the fact that we need to improve our conditions of employment, our salaries and our involvement in making policy.
‘I hope that, at this conference, you take time to reflect on the good and the bad times of the last two years. It has been difficult for all of us. Some have lost their lives. But we must build on the profile that we have developed: it’s up to us, and I know that we can do it. We are strong. We are resilient. We are nurses. We can meet all the challenges ahead if we work together. And in the words of my great hero, Greta Thunberg, we are never too small to make a difference.”
ICN Chief Nurse Michelle Acorn said the conference would highlight how investing, maximising, integrating and sustaining advanced practice nursing roles will support health system recovery.
“Implementing advanced practice nurses to strengthen nurses in countries is paramount and timely as we maximise our health human resources, and use our knowledge and experience and our leadership. I’d like to thank you all for your caring, compassion competency and confident leadership and service delivery as we transform the healthcare system.”
The conference concludes on September 1.