Joint Statement by The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) and Ontario’s Universities on National Nursing Week

May 12, 2021

“Today, during Florence Nightingale’s birthday anniversary – International Nurses’ Day – we celebrate the incredible nurses across Ontario, Canada and the world, who have devoted their lives to the betterment of others.

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) and Ontario’s Universities are proud to recognize the dedicated nurses – our everyday unsung expert heroes – who are working day and night to serve on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 and protecting our health and well-being.

RNAO’s theme this year: Protecting Ontarians, Leading Change highlights the critical role of nurses – in all roles and sectors – during COVID-19. The theme showcases the capacity of nurses to simultaneously protect the public, nurse patients and lead change for the betterment of all.

The pandemic has served as a magnifying glass to showcase the expertise, compassion and courage that nurses demonstrate in their minute by minute work – even when faced with most difficult realities – and their unwavering commitment to save lives and ameliorate suffering.   

Now more than ever we’re seeing nurses and other health-care practitioners continue to step up; providing their expertise, skills and quality care for their patients across Ontario. In fact, according to recent Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) statistics, applications to Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs are up 15.3 per cent, and nurse practitioner program applications have jumped by 58 per cent from last year.

We value the work of the province’s nurse practitioners, who often practice in communities with poor access to health care, and work with other local health professionals to provide a team-based approach to health-care delivery. And registered nurses, equipped with vital nursing knowledge, clinical experience, foundational science education, critical thinking and leadership skills. All essential for meeting the needs of patients in today’s complex health-care sector and into the future – well beyond the spotlight of this pandemic.  

RNAO and Ontario’s universities remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the Ontario government to support the province’s fight against COVID-19 and rebuilding Ontario’s health workforce.

We are eager to support all efforts to help rebuild Ontario’s health system from the devastating effects of COVID-19. We want to partner to ensure Ontario has the healthcare workforce it needs to build a brighter future for communities throughout the province.

From the bedside to the classroom and the boardroom, nurses make the world a healthier place. While one week is not nearly enough, we want to share our gratitude for the formidable work Ontario’s nurses do each and every day.”

  • Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD, LLD (hon.), Dr (hc), FAAN, FCAN, O.ONT. CEO, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
  • Steve Orsini, President and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities