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Nursing Now Canada … ready, set, go! A movement with meaning
Jul 19, 2019, By: Barb Shellian
Attendees at the Nursing Now campaign
Teckles Photography Inc.
Canada joins the Nursing Now campaign on June 3, 2019 in Vancouver, BC.

June 3, 2019 was a very fun day. I had the opportunity to be in Vancouver at the international event where Canada joined the Nursing Now campaign. The event was co-supported by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

Nursing Now is a global movement with the primary intent of improving health by raising the profile and status of nursing and midwifery. More than 90 countries have taken up the challenge, and more countries are being added almost weekly. What does Nursing Now mean to nurses practising in Canada—is it just a chance to eat cake and have a news release? Absolutely NOT. Nursing Now, in any participating country, must have strong national support and a plan for movement forward.

Nursing Now Canada is based on an action plan with a nursing leadership pillar to establish a comprehensive Canadian hub of leadership development; a CNA pillar to establish federal, provincial, and territorial Chief Nursing Officers who are in positions of leadership; and an Indigenous pillar to enable and support the current and future nursing and midwifery workforce to provide culturally safe care across Canada. These three pillars make up the foundation for Nursing Now Canada. You can find more information about the specific goals on the CNA website.

Nursing Now Canada connects us with nurses around the world who practise in very different conditions. But we all have the same goal—to assist people, families, communities, and countries to health. Health is not just the absence of disease; health is a resource for everyday living, with the emphasis on the social determinants of health. These include literacy, social support networks, adequate income, and access to safe drinking water, all of which contribute to health. Nurses know this.

Nursing Now is about nursing and what nursing can offer to an individual, a family, a community, a country, and our world in achieving health for all. This may seem a very ambitious goal, but the challenge has been given to us by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, who has declared 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife; by Howard Catton, CEO of the ICN, who sounded the rallying cry at the June ICN Congress in Singapore (“Carpe diem, nurses; this is our time, this is our opportunity, this is our responsibility”); and by Dr. Claire Betker, president of CNA, who stated at the Nursing Now launch that this movement will “support nurses to be effective leaders in their communities and in the health system.”

Think globally, act locally

You might ask: “What about me and my practice? Will I be left behind in the global aspirations of nursing leaders at policy tables?” No. Nursing Now is about you and the changes you can make on your unit, in your community, and wherever you choose to make a difference as a nurse.

I love to talk about nursing (in case you haven’t noticed) because I believe that nursing is the key to a sustainable health care system and a vision of health care in the community. Nursing is the promotion of health, the prevention of illness, and the care of people who are ill, disabled, or dying. Nursing is advocacy for health public policy and leadership. Nursing is research and education. Nursing is you, and the difference that you make.

Nursing Now is more than a sound bite. It is a movement with meaning, because what nursing has to offer has meaning. It is a movement that has gathered nurses together around the globe with a common purpose. It is not about us; it is about the child in Ethiopia, the new mother in Moose Jaw, the older adult who has been diagnosed with dementia in Croatia, the pregnant teenager in Israel, the refugee in Lebanon who has hope for a better life—all people and nurses everywhere, with a goal of health for all.

Nursing Now: Ready, set, go.

Additional Resources

Canada joins the global Nursing Now campaign

Canadian Nurses Association

Nursing Now

Editor-in-chief Barb Shellian is a registered nurse committed to nursing practice, health care reform, and people. She is the immediate past president of the Canadian Nurses Association and also Director of Rural Health, Alberta Health Services Calgary Zone, and is located in Canmore, Alberta.