Hospital Celebrates National Nursing Week: May 6-12

May 4, 2019

National Nursing Week draws attention to nurses, increasing the awareness of the public, policy-makers and governments of the many contributions of nursing to the well-being of Canadians.

In 1971, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) designated May 12, the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, as International Nurses Day. In 1985, the Canadian government chose to celebrate the profession by having the week containing May 12 proclaimed as National Nursing Week annually.

In 2019, National Nursing Week will be celebrated at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (our Hospital) with events that recognize the vital contribution nurses make to the delivery of quality patient care, not only in Thunder Bay but across Northwestern Ontario. Our Hospital will also be featuring some of the many dedicated nurses that help us deliver exceptional care and who always put patients first.

The theme, developed by the ICN, is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Health for All. According to the ICN, A Voice to Lead reflects the fact that “every nurse has a story and every story has the potential to improve the health system and enable individuals and communities to achieve their highest attainable standard of health. From these insights comes the power for change.” Health for All means “not just the availability of health services, but a complete state of physical and mental health that enables a person to lead a socially and economically productive life.”


Jodi Illson (Eusepi), RPN: Adult Mental Health

Jodi Illson (Eusepi) has been a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) since 2006. She works on the Adult Mental Health Unit, and also has experience working in the Maternal Newborn Unit.

Jodi has made a difference in many patients’ lives by working as an integral member with the mental health team at our Hospital.  RPNs are responsible for the provision of high-quality, patient and family centred nursing care working with a highly acute mental health and /or addictions patient population. Jodi helps people learn to manage their illnesses and support their recovery journey. She enjoys her job immensely.


Kelly Wrigley, RN: Cardiac Cathlab

Kelly Wrigley has been a Registered Nurse (RN) since 2007, starting out on the 1A Oncology Unit and in the Regional Cancer Centre.  She then went on to expand her nursing skills and talent in the Cardiac Cathlab where she has worked for the past five years.

The Cathlab nurses care for patients before and after their angiogram, angioplasty or pacemaker procedure. Patients who are undergoing transesophageal echocardiograms are also cared for and recovered by the Cathlab nurses.

“Our teamwork, our close knit group and ultimately the positive outcomes we help provide to patients,” said Wrigley when asked about what she enjoys the most about her job. “Working in the Cathlab is 100%, without a doubt, a job that requires a great deal of teamwork. Without one of the essential staff members, a case could not be done.”

Kelly loves the direct impact that she and her colleagues are able to have on a patient’s life. For example, patients come in to the Cathlab from the emergency department actively having a heart attack. Within minutes, the Cathlab team is able to locate the blocked artery in the heart and open it up, restoring blood flow and improving the patient’s clinical symptoms.

“In addition the impact we have medically, I feel like we make a difference each day by helping to calm the nerves of our patients undergoing this procedure,” added Wrigley. “Most patients are pretty nervous as we wheel them into the lab and we really take pride in being able to talk to the patients and help them through the “scariness” and unknown.”


Peter Hayes, RN, Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): Emergency Department

A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is an advanced practice nurse who works with nursing staff to advance nursing practices, improve patient outcomes, and provide clinical expertise. Collaboration with other health care professionals and service providers is another important part of the CNS role. Before becoming a CNS, Peter Hayes worked as an Emergency Department staff Registered Nurse and later as a department Charge Nurse.  Along the way, he also held temporary assignments involving hospital accreditation, utilization and process improvement projects. Peter plays an important role in the orientation and development of newly hired staff and nursing students doing placements in the department. “The work can be very challenging but we have a great team of nurses, physicians and other staff who provide the best patient care”, said Hayes when asked what it is like to work in one of the busiest Emergency Departments in Canada.

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