The Leadership Award in Political Action is presented to the RN or NP who acts as a change agent, resource and mentor through political action. This individual is actively involved in discussions with MPPs/MPs, other decision-makers, and media that benefit the health of individuals or communities.
If you have attended RNAO’s Queen’s Park Day or Queen’s Park on the Road (QPOR), you have probably met Sepelene Deonarine, political executive network officer (ENO) for the Durham Northumberland Chapter and the International Nurses Interest Group. As an RNAO member for more than 30 years, she works hard to organize policy and political events for her chapter, and engages regularly with political leaders to advocate for nurses and the health-care issues affecting patients and communities. During QPOR in 2019, Deonarine organized visits for the six MPPs within her chapter, speaking at each visit with other chapter members about a better approach to long-term care in Ontario and recommending a harm reduction approach to put an end to the opioid overdose crisis. As an educator for the diabetes advocacy program for Diabetes Canada, Deonarine also finds time for presentations to individuals with diabetes and their families. She started an outreach diabetes education program in partnership with the Ajax libraries that happens twice a month. Deonarine has always been an effective change agent and says she looks forward to doing more. “I am going to continue educating myself, locally, nationally and internationally, speaking out for nurses and speaking out for health, and being a strong effective health-care advocate.”