National Nursing Week celebrates science, art and opportunity

EDMONTON, May 9 /CNW/ - National Nursing Week is a time to reflect on the many valued contributions made by registered nurses. The annual celebration also provides an opportunity to embrace the ongoing potential of nursing to help provide the best health care possible, according to the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA). National Nursing Week runs from May 9-15, 2011.

Alberta's National Nursing Week theme of "Expert Caring Makes a Difference" is more poignant and timely than ever, says CARNA President Joan Petruk.

"Nursing is a science and an art," Petruk says. "As the largest group of health professionals, registered nurses provide a high level of care in acute and unpredictable situations. They also have a unique expertise as it relates to patient education and the coordination of care."

According to Petruk, RNs and Nurse Practitioners can contribute to managing the projected increase in chronic conditions of an aging population and to delaying and preventing their onset. Registered nurses apply their knowledge and expertise in a variety of settings from hospitals, homes and schools to classrooms and boardrooms in urban, rural and remote locations across the province. Of the 33,000 registered nurses in Alberta, 58 per cent work in hospitals, seven per cent work in nursing homes or long-term care, six per cent work in community health agencies and 29 per cent work in other settings.

CARNA's Expert Caring campaign highlights how registered nurses deliver benefits to long-term care residents, shorten hospital stays, prevent hospital deaths, reduce hospital infections, cut wait times and control health-care costs. Full details can be found by visiting

National Nursing Week is also providing CARNA with an opportunity to increase awareness about the vital importance and potential of Nurse Practitioners to the health-care system. NPs are registered nurses with additional education and experience in the assessment and diagnosis of illnesses and injuries. They have the knowledge and authority to prescribe medications, order laboratory tests and x-rays, and can refer patients to other health professionals.

"Nurse Practitioners are really an untapped resource," says CARNA Chief Executive Officer Mary-Anne Robinson. "By allowing NPs to deliver more aspects of primary care, it would improve access, increase the quality of care and secondary prevention, decrease demand and move the entire system forward."

The accomplishments of RNs/NPs will be celebrated at the CARNA Awards of Nursing Excellence Gala on June 9, 2011. A list of recipients and additional information is available at .

About National Nursing Week
In 1971, the International Council of Nurses designated May 12 (Florence Nightingale's birthday) as International Nurses Day. In 1985, in recognition of the dedication and achievements of the nursing profession, the federal minister of health proclaimed the second week of May as National Nursing Week in Canada.

CARNA is the professional and regulatory body for Alberta's more than 33,000 RNs, including nurses in direct care, education, research and administration as well as nurse practitioners. Its mandate is to protect the public by ensuring that Albertans receive effective, safe and ethical care by registered nurses. For more information, visit

SOURCE College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

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