Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nurses share their successes and challenges during National Nursing Week

Nurses share their successes and challenges during National Nursing Week


TORONTO, May 8, 2020 – During a time when nurses are working tirelessly and selflessly through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) will honour the impact they are having every day on the lives of Ontarians and the health system, through a series of virtual events planned during National Nursing Week (May 11-17).

“Nursing Week is the annual celebration of our profession and this year is unique because it marks the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the founder of modern nursing. It also falls during the World Health Organization’s designated Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” says Dr. Angela Cooper Brathwaite, RNAO president. 

“RNAO is proud to recognize the 97,890 RNs, 3,294 NPs, and 47,744 RPNs who are providing, day in and day out, quality care to Ontarians everywhere in the province. We also salute the thousands of nursing students who are taking forward Nightingale’s lamp. From the bedside to the classroom and the boardroom, nurses and nursing students make the world a healthier place,” adds Brathwaite.

RNAO has planned events such as its 20th annual Take Your MPP To Work Live, launching on May 11. This year, to keep with the need for physical distancing, the association is coordinating virtual visits via Zoom where political leaders can still meet and speak with nurses to better understand the richness of nursing practice. Many MPPs are participating in these visits, among them: Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott, Minister of Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Long-term Care Merrilee Fullerton, MPP for Mississauga Centre Natalia Kusendova, NDP Health Care Critic France Gélinas, MPP for Ottawa South John Fraser, MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood Mitzie Hunter and Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner.

On May 12, RNAO will release its third groundbreaking report on Enhancing Community Care for Ontarians (ECCO 3.0), which will provide government officials and the public with a clear direction on how to enhance community care for Ontarians within a strong primary care foundation. The recommendations in the report strategically align with the 2019 Ontario government’s plans to reshape Ontario’s health system and build on RNAO’s ECCO 1.0, released in 2012 and ECCO 2.0, released in 2014, both of which have informed health system restructuring in the province. 

“The shocking impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in every person’s life, and the challenges it has presented to our health system, make bold system transformation an imperative. We must decisively and definitively embrace our publicly-funded and primarily not-for-profit delivered health system, with a strong community care focus, to meet trending population health needs and serve all Ontarians. We must fully lift our talent and focus on all aspects of care delivery inspiring the collective contributions of all sectors,” says Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO CEO. “We invite media, nurses, other health providers, political leaders and other stakeholders to join and hear what nurses have to say,” adds Grinspun. 

Also on May 12 at 2 p.m., RNAO along with the Ontario Nurses’ Association and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario, will honour one NP, RN and RPN for their contributions made to nursing practice in celebration of the inaugural Nursing Now Ontario Awards

Later in the week, the association will unveil the second edition of its oral health best practice guideline (BPG) entitled Oral health: Supporting adults who require assistance. The BPG provides evidence-based recommendations for improving delivery of oral care to adults and ultimately lead to positive oral health outcomes for patients.  

“These celebrations will provide nurses a brief pause from intense stress to reflect on their formidable work and the profession’s collective contribution. Colleagues should take pride in knowing that our profession and each nurse in Ontario, in Canada, and indeed the world over is making a profound difference for the public we serve,” says Grinspun.

RNAO will host the following events during Nursing Week. Please see our Nursing Week portal for more information. 

Media are welcome to attend. 

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook  and Twitter.


For more information, please contact: 

Victoria Alarcon
Communications Specialist/Coordinator
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
Phone: 416-408-5610