Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

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Leadership Award in Political Action

This award recognizes an RN who initiates and partakes in political action that benefits the health of individuals, clients, or profiles or positively positions nursing.

When Mary Mueller takes up a cause, she runs with it. The veteran public health nurse for the Region of Waterloo has dedicated much of the last dozen years to the treatment and prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). She hopes her work will save a lot of suffering from this entirely preventable condition. Her tireless advocacy has taken her in front of the government’s Select Committee on Developmental Services, onto the cover of Registered Nurse Journal, RNAO’s flagship publication, and into a prominent role of co-chair in the provincial FASD ONE prevention working group. She pioneered RNAO's work on FASD by bringing forward a resolution at the 2012 annual general meeting with her colleague and mentor Kathy Moreland Layte, and developed an educational strategy on FASD in partnership with the association. Along the way, she's learned some valuable political lessons. "You have to speak politicians' language," she says. "Nurses have always had the evidence, we just had to get it to the right people." Mary, who also advocates for the health of immigrants and refugees, is proud to see nurses more involved in policy. "That's where we'll make the biggest difference."