Celebrating Nightingale 2020 Bicentenary

Florence Nightingale 200 years

Introducing Meenakshi Sivanandam a young advocate and student from Texas USA.

Meenakshi is an 11 years old student and writes with such passion about Florence Nightingale – we commend her! She has written an introduction for our website  about what inspired her – included  is a link to her well researched paper. Take a look!

I greatly cherish this opportunity, and I chose this topic because I wanted to reveal how Florence Nightingale captured the imaginations and sparked the inspiration of thousands of people across the globe. I want to truly recognize Florence Nightingale for all of her life’s tireless efforts, dedicated to creating a heathier world, and shaping nursing into the honorable and respectable position that it is today.

Even after she tragically passed away due to the Crimean Fever, “The Lady with the Lamp” is commemorated in numerous ways for her work, such as songs, poems, and even the holiday International Nurses Day, which is celebrated on her birthday each year, every May 12. In fact, since Nightingale was born in 1820, this year is her 2020 Bicentenary. Throughout the year, she will be honored in various events, so be on the lookout! 

Nightingale was a pioneer in nursing, who transformed it into a methodical, systematic position to be pursued by all people. A lady of upper class herself, she proved that nursing was a profession that could be taken up by all classes, not just lower ones. Nightingale broke barriers of class by being one of the first upper-class people to be a nurse. even after the caste system was demolished, 200 years later, Florence Nightingale’s legacy lives on, as her story continues to spark inspiration in thousands of people, laying down the foundation of nursing as we know it today.

Meenakshi Sivanandam
Age: 11 years old.

See Meenakshi’s full essay here:  https://meenakshisivanandam.com/florence-nightingale-break-barrier-history/

Eleanor Adarna honoured for her Health & Safety Advocacy 

UHN return to work rep Eleanor Adarna addresses the gathering at a special ceremony in Toronto November 2018 where she was honoured for her tireless health and safety work. “I always say it doesn’t matter who gets credited, as long as this important work gets done and benefits my members,” she humbly said. 

 When University Health Network (UHN) return to work (RTW) rep Eleanor Adarna is asked why she is so involved in health and safety, she is quick to respond: “Because that is where I am needed the most.”

Yet, if not for a fateful day many years ago when Adarna, mid-career and not active in the union at the time, asked a question at a trustee meeting, that might not have happened.

“Someone said to me why don’t you become a union rep, and sent me to ONA to meet the president. From there, I was asked to be a RTW rep and joined the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC). I didn’t know how to do the work, but if you ask me to do something, I am going to find out in a hurry.”

And, she certainly did. Jumping in with both feet, Adarna attended ONA’s Leadership Development Program, labour schools, and health and safety workshops, and immersed herself in documents to support her work, often on her downtime. Shy and unaccustomed to speaking in public, she also bought how-to books and started practicing giving speeches in the mirror! All that work paid off.

“In my portfolio as RTW rep, I hear members’ stories about how they get injured at work,” she said. “As a member of the JHSC, I review all incident reports and see that the majority of incidents can be prevented.”

In fact, Adarna was able to bring forward one such issue herself after noticing that her hands were wet after using vinyl gloves while caring for her patients, particularly concerning as her work in the interventional cardiology unit, a critical care area, means she frequently comes in contact with blood.

“I tested many gloves by pouring liquid into them and discovered they were all leaking. I told the JHSC and they said they would look into it. They didn’t, so I brought the gloves to a second meeting, demonstrated the leaks and said, ‘If I get sick, it’s because of this.’ That generated action. They contacted the manufacturer, all the gloves changed, and there was a new directive and policy.” 

Despite that early success, Adarna said it wasn’t until she became her JHSC’s worker co-chair that “this work really took off.” Responsible for writing recommendations, a skill she learned from ONA’s health and safety specialists, she read the entire Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

“When there are issues and concerns brought to my attention, I take them very seriously,” she said, noting that she is particularly concerned about workplace violence.

“I investigate and get the details, and bring them to my employer. I always quote the OHSA as well as the incidences of injuries/and or workplace violence. I learned to develop strategies, how to make my employer listen, and I work with them to implement safety measures and initiatives.” 

Some of the strategies have included: behavioural safety alerts for certain patients/families to notify workers to be careful; training from a safety management group on protecting workers when presented with challenges and unsafe situations; and safety risk assessments and debriefs after an unsafe incident.

It gives me a sense of accomplishment when we find resolutions to issues and safety measures are implemented,” said Adarna. “I am proud to be part of the safety culture at UHN.”

With that level of dedication, it should have come as no surprise to her that she was nominated for and received an award from Region 3 and the Workers Health & Safety Centre for her outstanding service and dedication to improving the work environment late last year. Yet, that is exactly how she felt.

“I was shocked, but so happy,” she said. “It is humbling to be recognized, and it really resonated with me that my contributions to make my workplace safe are noted. I send a very big thank you to my colleagues. I am also very lucky to have the support of ONA’s health and safety specialists.”

While health and safety prevention is work that will never end, Adarna said both she and her employer have come a long way since she took on the RTW portfolio all those years ago.

“It was all baby steps in the beginning, one issue at a time, but in the end, we are all in this together. That really is my motto: Together, we have a strong voice and together, we have the power to make a difference.” 

Health and Safety article from ONA Frontlines Feb/March 2019 acknowledging Eleanors’ advocacy with her members at UHN and the celebration of her at the H&S Activist Award Dinner Nov 9 2018.

For More Information Contact:

Anne Clark RN

Carolyn Edgar RN

Cristina Buco RN

Eleanor Adarna RN