The Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed on long-standing members of RNAO who exemplify outstanding contributions to the profession in the areas of practice, education, administration or research, at the provincial, national and/or international level. This includes activities that promote RNAO among nursing colleagues, the government and other health-care partners.
For more than 20 years, RN Vicki McKenna has been an activist for nurses, living by the words of her father, who “…would have this mantra…pay attention to what’s happening and help those around you,” she recalls. As the president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) since 2018, and a member of RNAO since 2006, McKenna has done just that. In 2018, she spearheaded the campaign “RN Pride” to raise awareness of every person’s right to dignity and equal treatment. In that same year, she launched the campaign “RN Proud” to celebrate the skills, experience and education of registered nurses. In addition to these campaigns, McKenna has dedicated time and expertise to providing nurses with workshops, e-learning and annual leadership conferences through ONA. Most recently, she played a leadership role when ONA partnered with RNAO, the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (WeRPN) to launch the Nurses’ Health Program, dedicated to helping nurses who seek treatment for substance use and/or mental health challenges. “There are many challenges going forward for the profession and I will be focused on nurses’ needs and priorities in their workplaces. It is an honour to do this work on behalf of ONA members,” says McKenna.