Prime Minister Presents Awards to 14 Nurses From Across Canada - Canadian Nurses Association Launches its Centennial Year

    TORONTO, Feb. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Health
Minister Tony Clement recognized 14 extraordinary and diverse nurse leaders
from across Canada today for their contributions to the health system and the
health of Canadians. The event, held at The Hospital for Sick Children, marked
the official launch of the Centennial Year of the Canadian Nurses Association
    "There are 270,000 registered nurses in Canada today," said Prime
Minister Harper. "These vital individuals are fulfilling roles, not only on
the front line of health care, but also in research, advocacy, innovation,
health policy development, and education.
    "CNA's nurses are setting national standards for our public health
system, increasing patient safety, enabling technology, and ultimately
improving access for all Canadians to get the care they need at the right
time, in the right place. Our nurses are collaborators and leaders who have
made a tremendous difference in the lives of all Canadians," said the Prime
    The CNA views 2008, its Centennial Year, as a pivotal time in the history
of the Canadian health system. The national organization represents registered
nurses across Canada in a wide variety of roles including health
administration, community and public health, research and ethics, and the
delivery of health services in all parts of the country, from rural and urban
settings to northern and remote communities.
    "In the 21st century, nursing is a dynamic career choice, particularly
given the challenges of wait lists and access to care," said Dr. Marlene
Smadu, president of the CNA, and associate dean of Nursing at the University
of Saskatchewan.
    "In the coming years, the world will be confronted with more active,
virulent illnesses, diseases of aging, and an increased need for health
services in general. Through new technology, major advances in genetic
research and significant changes to the roles and diversity of health
professionals, especially in nursing, CNA envisions a Medicare system that
will overcome these challenges," she said.
    Dr. Smadu proudly acknowledged the 14 nurses being recognized for
applying their nursing education and skills to advance many important areas in
the health system, and called on young Canadians to consider nursing as a
career choice. "We need a national effort to address the health provider
shortage, including retaining the nurses we have in Canada in order to help
compensate for the shortage of 78,000 nurses we will have by 2011," Dr. Smadu
said. "The key to managing demand over the next 20 years is collaboration
among health professionals to re-design a system that fully utilizes the high
level of education and skills of the nursing profession. This is certainly the
trend we at the CNA see now and forecast for the future."
    At the event, the CNA launched its new Centennial website,,
outlining a number of activities throughout 2008 which will celebrate the
Centennial and commemorate the achievements of registered nurses to date.
    The highlight of the event, however, was the adulation and
acknowledgement of the 14 exceptional nurses, including Mary Jo Haddad,
President and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children who was presented a CNA
Nurse to Know Centennial Achievement Award for her outstanding leadership and
achievement as a registered nurse by Prime Minister Harper and Dr. Smadu.
    The other recipients of the CNA Nurse to Know Centennial Achievement
Award, representing each province and territory, were: Joanne Simms of
Newfoundland; Patsy Smith of Nova Scotia; Janet Bryanton of Prince Edward
Island; Daniel Savoie of New Brunswick; Lieutenant Jeff Lee of Quebec; Nancy
DiPietro of Ontario; Dr. Roberta Woodgate of Manitoba; Dr. June Anonson of
Saskatchewan; Marianne Stewart of Alberta; Dion Thevarge of British Columbia;
Patricia McLellan of the Yukon, Céline Pelletier of the Northwest Territories;
and Barb Harvey of Nunavut.
    Each award recipient has made a significant contribution to the health of
Canadians and the health system in general. Their stories reveal a spectrum of
courage, leadership, conviction and passion that serve as inspiring examples
for the current and next generation of nurses which the CNA projects by 2020
will practise largely in the community and home settings, with shorter stays
becoming the norm in smaller and more specialized hospitals.
    "We have increased the number of nurse practitioners - who function as
highly educated and well-prepared nurse clinicians - by sixty per cent over
the last three years," Dr. Smadu said. "Nurse practitioners will help ease
access to the health system in the future and can function as the first point
of care given their abilities to diagnose, treat and prescribe medications for
the more prevalent and common illnesses affecting children, adults and the
    "The road ahead may be challenging, but we see hope in the future, hope
inspired by our 14 award recipients here today, and the many other registered
nurses who care for Canadians 24/7," added Dr. Smadu. "We appreciate the
support of Prime Minister Harper and Minister Clement, and the Government of
Canada, in recognizing CNA's Centennial Year and the important role of nurses,
and the critical role they will play in the future of Canada's health system."

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview: Tina Grznar, (613)
240-7830,; Kathryn Hendrick, (416) 277-6281,; Susan King, (613) 744-8282, Cell: (613) 725-5901,

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