After logging onto the platform, attendees found themselves in a virtual space that resembled a conference centre lobby and exhibition space. They were able to access the Info Desk and visit the Exhibition Hall or Lounge for some old-fashioned networking, albeit virtual.
In the Lounge, conference-goers engaged with fellow RPNs and WeRPN’s Board of Directors in group chats that covered topics including: Sharing Tips for Self-Care, Supporting Cultural Competency in Nursing, and Exploring Career Laddering.
At 6pm, attendees were directed to the Conference Hall where they were welcomed by video greetings from the Minister of Long-term Care Rod Phillips and the Province’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott. Their remarks recognized the courage that RPNs have demonstrated while working on the frontlines battling the global pandemic, and emphasized the government’s plans to invest in the health and long-term care sectors.
In the CEO Report, Dianne acknowledged the enduring challenges that nursing professionals face everyday as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep through the province. In spite of these challenges, nurses work with determination and compassion while delivering the highest quality care to patients, residents, and clients across the care continuum. “We remain inspired by each and every one of you for showing us the true meaning of resilience and perseverance during the most challenging of times.”
After reflecting on this difficult year, Dianne discussed WeRPN’s exciting future. Over the 2020-2021 period, membership grew to 16,554, an increase of 9% from the previous year. There’s strength in numbers and this increase allows WeRPN to continue to be the most powerful voice advocating for RPNs in Ontario.
Ben Nemtin joined us live as the evening’s keynote speaker. Ben struggled with depression growing up and was forced to drop out of college. Searching for purpose, he decided to only surround himself with people who inspired him and, with the help of his friends, he created a list of ‘100 things to do before you die.’
For every bucket list item they accomplished, they would help a stranger accomplish something on their list. He shared stories of perseverance, strength and maintaining an optimistic outlook in the face of adversity.
Then it was down to the business of the Annual General Meeting. The Board of Directors’ reports provided members with updates on key organizational financial and membership activities. CEO Dianne Martin highlighted how WeRPN continued to engage and support RPNs as COVID-19 raged on.
The evening concluded with one of the most anticipated parts of the AGM – the WeRPN Awards of Excellence Ceremony. This was an important moment to shine light on the incredible work RPNs do every day, by recognizing members and those who champion RPNs in their nursing practice.
The Awards of Excellence Ceremony acknowledged individual RPNs for their exceptional work and seeks to inspire the entire healthcare community by highlighting the profound importance that RPNs play every day in the Ontario Health Care system.