This will be my final President’s address, and it’s been the hardest one to write. I will step down in October and another President will take my place. I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve one more year as past president before leaving the WeRPN board entirely.
My entire presidency has been during COVID-19. Not once during my presidency was I able to see you at an AGM and listen to your amazing stories about your work. Meeting you and hearing your stories was always my favourite part of the AGM—so not to experience one as President was disappointing.
But we nurses have experienced more than our fair share of devastation these past two years. An unimaginable illness threatened our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the lives of our patients, residents and clients. We all witnessed or directly experienced incredible pain and anguish.
We managed by seeking out help as we needed it. We supported our fellow RPNs and lent a hand to all nurses in need. We took advantage of the online support systems. We got through our days by getting to work. We always, without fail, put our patients, residents and clients first.
Day after day, we demonstrated to all Canadians that RPNs are strong, resilient, professional nurses committed to excellence in patient, resident and client care. I see it every day in my workplace and I read about it in your messages. You truly are an inspiration.
I’m proud that WeRPN also rose to this challenge. I could not be prouder of the team’s work with the BEGIN program, the government advocacy for increased wages, better nurse-to-patient/client resident ratios and online educational opportunities.
But we have so much more to do. And since I will no longer be in the role of President, my last request is this: continue to advocate and support WeRPN efforts with its government advocacy. Support this organization as it has supported you. We need each other more than ever.
I’ve been so proud to be President of WeRPN during these unprecedented times. And thanks to you, I’ve never been more proud to be an RPN.
Suzanne Schell, RPN