National Nursing Week, May 10-16, 2010

Expert Caring Makes A Difference.

EDMONTON, May 7 /CNW/ - Cutting wait times, shortening hospital stays, reducing hospital infections and cutting health care costs - these are the real contributions of registered nurses being celebrated during National Nursing Week, May 10-16, 2010, according to the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA).

"Health care researchers continue to explore the impact of registered nurses on the quality and cost of health care," says Joan Petruk, CARNA's president. "Whatever your health care need, you are likely to benefit from the expertise of a registered nurse."

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, 60 per cent work in hospitals, 7 per cent work in nursing homes or long-term care, 6 per cent work in community health agencies and 29 per cent work in other settings. CARNA is honouring registered nurses on its website

"As the largest group of health professionals, the expert caring of registered nurses makes a difference in the lives of Albertans every day but this week is our opportunity to share the stories of some of our members," says CARNA Chief Executive Officer, Mary-Anne Robinson.

Those members include the seven RNs recently recognized at the CARNA Awards of Nursing Excellence gala. They were recognized for contributions ranging from improving access and care for heart patients, to helping marginalized youth access health care services, to developing new learning approaches for nursing students, to pursuing research which has led to routine screening for additional factors that may predispose women to major post-partum depression.

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 33,000 RNs. Its members include registered nurses working in direct care, administration, education and research. CARNA sets nursing practice standards and ensures Albertans receive effective, safe and ethical nursing services. For more information, visit


             2010 CARNA Awards of Nursing Excellence Recipients

Award for Excellence in Nursing Clinical Practice

Jennifer Penner (AHS, Chinook - Heart Failure Network, Lethbridge) - for her work to improve access and care for heart patients in Southern Alberta by advocating for high quality community-based care; leading community awareness forums on vascular protection, health promotion and risk reduction; and forming partnerships with community businesses and organizations to promote health.

Award for Excellence in Nursing Education

Phyllis Castelein, RN, BN, MN (Instructor, University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing) - for developing a context-based learning approach which allows better understanding of the connection between the theoretical and practical aspects of nursing. She has also developed strong working relationships with the Faculte St. Jean, clinical agencies and the francophone community since becoming coordinator of the University of Alberta's BScN bilingual program.

Award for Excellence in Nursing Research

Karen Benzies, RN, PhD (Professor and Scientist, University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing) - for her focus on healthy child development and supports for new parents which has resulted in nurses now routinely screening for additional factors that may predispose women to major post-partum depression.

Award of Nursing Excellence in Administration

Nancy Guebert, RN, BSN, MCEd (Vice-President, Rockyview General Hospital, Calgary) - for her work in partnership with Mental Health and Addictions Services to create in-patient beds at the Foothills Medical Centre for eating disorder patients and her work as Flow Coordinator which helps ensure patients move smoothly through the system from admission to discharge.

Lifetime Achievement

Marion Allen, RN, PhD (Professor, University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing) - for her contribution to the prestige, credibility and advancement of the registered nursing profession. Some of her accomplishments over the past 40 years include being the first to offer a doctorate-level nursing course via the internet, setting new directions for ophthalmic nursing internationally and creating a master's program at the University of Ghana.

Rising Star

Petra Hortopanu, RN, BN (Alex Community Health Centre, Calgary) - for her passionate efforts to help marginalized youth in her community, spearheading the development of a youth centre, which included building partnerships with other youth-oriented organizations and bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of health-care workers. The youth centre opened in October 2008 with Petra as nurse and coordinator, a mere four months after her graduation.

Committee's Choice Award

Linda Youell, RN, BScN, MHSA (University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing) - for providing leadership for Canada's longest running nursing faculty and creating a workplace where staff feel valued and engaged. She was active in planning for the new after-degree BScN program and the bilingual nursing program at the university.

Partner in Health

Tracy Parnell (Community Health Representative, Boyle McCauley Public Health Office, Edmonton) - for her work to decrease barriers to health services for Edmonton's inner-city residents. As a community health representative, she serves as a bridge between medical staff, who may not be familiar with the traditions, values or cultural beliefs of the client population, and community residents who might not otherwise access health services.

SOURCE College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview: Margaret Ward-Jack, T: (780) 453-0515, C: (780) 932-1376, F: (780) 452-3276,; Rachel Champagne, T: (780) 453-0516, F: (780) 452-3276,

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