Celebrating Nightingale 2020 Bicentenary

Florence Nightingale 200 years


Nurses Are Not Widgets!

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If ever there was a time to challenge protocols and practices with the employer it is now. ONA has been successful in April of this year with the supreme court challenge on what defines appropriate PPE and infection control standards. 

It is a point of care risk assessment that determines which PPE is required not management. Work with your H&S committee and speak up.

Have your voice heard!

Thoughts from Cris – June 9, 2020  

As a front-line staff worker I know the feeling that everyone else is facing. I was there during SARS as a novice nurse. I was fearful and scared because I didn’t know exactly what to expect and what to do. Seventeen years later COVID-19 came and I thought this time I am prepared based on my previous SARS experience. I was wrong because the level of anxiety is high. Now I have kids and elderly persons at home to look after and I am afraid that I will get the virus and pass it along with my family even though I am wearing PPE. I have seen and witnessed people getting sick and dying because of the virus. I am fortunate that I do get support and access with PPE compared to other facilities. I am hoping that very soon we will conquer the virus.

 Cris Buco RN is a frontline worker at UHN and a member of the Nightingale 2020 Team


In Conversation with Eleanor

From March 2020 to the present I never stop. Weekends are busy as well connecting with my members, answering emails and ensuring that my reports are up to date. As you can imagine, we have so many safety issues to deal with at work; meeting with the employer, either virtually or by tele-conference. Also, the redeployment of RNs to LTC homes, have to ensure our members are provided with the proper PPE. 

I was invited to participate in the UHN COVID-19 Steering Committee as well the UHN PPE Working Group. Meeting is being done every week. On top of that I still do my return to work meetings and it is almost every day. There are still many unknown with COVID-19 and part of the challenge is to get updated; be knowledgeable and up to date when having discussions with the employer. So, every night, before I go to bed, I am scrolling to Public Health; CDC; MOL; MHLTC; WHO; ONA and RNAO websites.

Then of course we had the Nursing week, not able to do the party, but we gave all our TGH/TWH very nice gifts. I spent 3 weeks, getting all of my TGH members name, writing it down, wrapping each gift individually with their names on it so that everyone will get one and then delivered it to all the Nursing units at TGH. I attached the work I did for our members during Nursing Week. I have close to 1800 members at TGH so just imagine the love and devotion I put into the Nursing week gifts. It is the least I could do for all the nurses that continue to work during this COVID-19 pandemic.  

I had experience SARS and Ebola, and I would say, the magnitude of this pandemic is something that will be spoken of in the years to come because of the unsung heroes at the bedside and at the frontlines.  

Take Care and Be Safe. 

Eleanor Adarna RN is a Health and Safety Lead at UHN and a member of the Nightingale 2020 Team

Greetings – Eva from Turkey  

Being a nurse in 2020 which was declared the ‘Nurses and Midwifes Year’ was fair enough the most proud moment of our professional lives  and while not expecting anything more enthusiastic here we go through a pandemic, no nurse could live more.

For me nursing is pure compassion, so it is while asking the patient to have its first breakfast after a big surgery or giving him/her the last services. Whatever the branch we work is compassion that leads us followed by our academic knowledge. A nurse when equipped with knowledge and ethic virtues can overcome even the most unknown and difficult situations as we all witnessed during COVID-19. It will always be a privilege to be able to say that ‘we were there during COVID-19 and we did our best.

Eva Kajti, ASG Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit – TURKEY


Nursing: The Backbone of Healthcare in Congo by Ann Hagenson RN and group-Paul Partnership

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They are passionate, dedicated, and sacrifice much to serve their communities. The nurses of the northwest region of DRC formed a Christian Nurses Association in 2014 with the fortitude, determination, and service of their community in mind just as Florence Nightingale did in her war-torn years. They meet quarterly to discuss nursing issues, successes, support one another, and decide on where their small amount of dues and donation money may go. Usually it is donated to help families pay for treatment while in the hospital. It is a bittersweet meeting as there is always more need than they can meet. Their hearts are full of compassion and they work tirelessly as advocates.

Each year the nurses in DRC celebrate the birthday of Florence Nightingale on May 12 by honoring nurses with a time of inspirational sharing during a meal consisting of the ‘’eating of meat’’, which is not the normal menu for a large gathering but displays the importance of contributions nurses have made to the community. Several years ago, they wanted to make their celebration extra special, so they reached out to material makers in the capital city of Kinshasa to create new outfits for the nurses. Beautiful images of Florence Nightingale, a stethoscope, thermometer, and several sayings about professional nursing, respect, loyalty, and the 14 basics of fundamental nursing are woven throughout the fabric. They proudly wear their beautiful outfits signifying their belonging to the Christian Nurses Association of Congo and their dedication to professional nursing.

This year’s celebration was postponed as these communities ready themselves for the possible arrival of COVID-19. We pray this area is spared such a disaster and ask you to keep them in your prayers and/or give a donation toward their needs through the Paul Carlson Partnership at paulcarlson.org/donate

Where is Congo & who is Paul Carlson Partnership? The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a large country in central sub-Saharan Africa that is divided by the Equator. Our partners, the CEUM (The Communauté Évangélique de l’Ubangi-Mongala – or, the Covenant Church of Congo) live in the northwest region and operate a medical system of four health zones with five hospitals and 120 rural health clinics. This system, once one of the most advanced in sub-Saharan Africa, has been severely damaged by decades of war. The population in this region is approximately six million and is roughly the size of the state of Georgia. With extreme poverty affecting its people, it is very difficult for a medical system to sustain itself, much less improve its facilities without outside partnership. Most people live, on average, about 6 miles away from a health clinic or hospital and must travel on foot or by bicycle on rough, difficult roads, and cannot afford treatment. Rural clinics are staffed by a single nurse and a few guards. Some clinics have solar power for lighting at night, while others light a kerosene lamp just like Florence Nightingale. Fresh clean water is near for some and others are still carrying water from polluted streams.

Paul Carlson Partnership (PCP), a non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois, began in memory of Dr. Paul Carlson, a medical missionary who was killed in 1964 while serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As stated on their website, ‘’Our mission is to catalyze the holistic growth of healthy families and communities in places of deep poverty. Working together with partners in Africa and elsewhere, we invest in local efforts in medical and economic development.’’ PCP is committed to walking alongside the CEUM as they restore this vast medical system to its pre-war days and beyond.

Nursing and physician volunteers are called Medical Ambassadors who partner with the Congolese medical community through a Training- the-Trainers method using new or updated practices, with the goal to multiply medical training for long-term impact. Learn more at paulcarlson.org/medical-ambassadors.

We honor the Christian Nurses Association of Congo for their dedication in the continuation of professional nursing. Their commitment to public health practices for the betterment of their communities is honored just as Florence Nightingale was recognized in her day.

Ann Hagensen RN, President Medical Ambassador  Volunteers  Paul Carlson Partnership 

COVID-19 Project

This is new from the Canadian Nurses  Foundation  in Ottawa and is a funding project during the pandemic to assist nurses. Highlighted is Mental Health and Research. Christine Rieck-Buckley the CEO was interviewed on Breakfast TV last May 15. Click on the following link https://www.bttoronto.ca/videos/thank-a-nurse-campaign/to hear her comments. The organization also sponsors the Nightingale Gala rescheduled to Oct 1, 2020.

The objectives of the fund:       

  • Support Nurses Today
  • Help provide mental health support for nurses during this COVID-19 pandemic
  • Help provide nurses with the evidence, skills and training they need to better navigate COVID-19
  • Develop and share best practices for future pandemics
  • Explore and support new research in critical care and pandemic response

More info on this project to follow.

Nursing Now Award

This Award now replaces the Nightingale Toronto Star Awards and is a joint initiative with ONA, RNAO and the RPNAO in recognizing nursing excellence by an RN, NP and RPN -1 in each category and in Nursing Week. The successful nurses were presented on May 12, 2020, virtually at the Health Professionals Expo, by the  RNAO. 

The ONA winner was Partic Campeau RN working in the Rehab Unit at St Joseph’s Long Term Care in Cornwall, Ontario. He was recognized as an outstanding role model and mentor. 

The successful NP was Michael Borja RN from the East GTA Family Health in Scarborough -also a strong role model and patient advocate.


Meena’s thoughts on the COVID -19 virus   

Meena from Texas has joined us as a roving contributor and we look forward to her unique insight. 

COVID-19, or novel Coronavirus, has been spreading rapidly, infecting approximately 2 million people, fatal to thousands more. It has changed our lives, separating us from the ones we love temporarily, or taking them from us forever. It has caused us to distance ourselves, stopping us from enjoying some of the things we love most. It has changed the way we look at the world, change the way we take things for granted in life. It’s strange to think about how one small accident can change our world so much. There are some precautions that we can take to help both ourselves and the people around us, especially the heroes who work tirelessly during these times. Supermarket employees must deal with hundreds of customers, if not more, each and every day.  

Researchers working day and night to produce a vaccine. Doctors and nurses working endless hours, risking their lives, taking care of patient after patient. They must go through so many heartbreaking moments, where a person simply will not be able to live, and equipment is scarce, so all they can do is let them pass away. Fortunately, there are many actions we can do to help out.

An example of a larger organization helping out is that in my hometown of Sugar Land, Texas, the United Memorial Medical Center (a hospital) is hosting free, drive-through COVID-19 testing at the Smart Financial Centre (a performance venue) for anyone who wants it. Also, in my hometown, teachers from my school drove hosted a car parade, where they drove through the neighborhood and greeted their students through their car, to help them feel better through these times. Many families, including mine, are dealing with this epidemic by staying inside, and only going outside for groceries or when absolutely necessary.

First, follow all the basic rules; prevention is the best protection. Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand soap, cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or bent elbow when you cough or sneeze, avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell, Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell, and don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean. They may seem obvious, but they really do make a difference.

Second, do not purchase more supplies than needed. Mass-buying toilet paper won’t help – COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, not a gastrointestinal one – and neither will be buying all the hand sanitizer in the store. Many people in need of these supplies might not have access to these items, and taking them all certainly won’t help. On this subject, another thing many people don’t know is not to buy food items that are labeled “WIC”. This stands for “Women, Infants, and Children,” whom they are reserved for, especially for low-income families.

COVID-19 has changed us and separated us from each other, isolating us from the rest of society. But, at the same time, it has brought us together in ways beyond imaginable. We have learned to ignore all the differences we may have, to work towards what really matters – fighting this epidemic, and ending its reign – once and for all.

Meenakshi Sivanandam
Age: 11 years old.

For More Information Contact:

Anne Clark RN

Carolyn Edgar RN

Cristina Buco RN

Eleanor Adarna RN