International Nurses Day was Tuesday, which was celebrated in Bonnyville with a parade of emergency vehicles passing by the Bonnyville Medical Clinic.
It was a salute to nurses on Tuesday.
Emergency vehicles in Bonnyville drove past Extendicare, Bonnylodge, the medical clinic and hospital to give appreciation to nurses on International Nurses Day.
Primary care nurse and organizer of the parade, Gisele Gagne, said nurses from long-term care and emergency to acute care and delivery, are finding ways to deal with the pandemic while still celebrating.
“We’re just trying to do something united because of course we’re stronger together and a lot of times people don’t recognize that nurses are everywhere in the community,” said Gagne.
“I’m extremely proud to be a registered nurse, through the pandemic, but always. I love looking after my moms and babes. I know all my colleagues that I work with, I work at the hospital and at the PCN, and work closely with all of our partners, and we all are extremely proud and dedicated to what we do.”
In fact, 2020 is the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, so Gagne pitched the idea of making shirts to her colleagues and the response was phenomenal, she said.
Thinkwerx, who Gagne thanked, provided the shirts and they were able to sell nearly 150 of them.
However, in the past two months, the day-to-day has changed for many nurses in the midst of the COVID-19 response.
No visitors are allowed for the 50 some residents of Extendicare and the 30 at long-term care in the hospital.
“I know that the physicians that I work with at the Bonnyville Medical Clinic are coming up with a lot of interesting ways to continue to look after the residents that live in extended care and maintain physical distancing,” said Gagne.
“I know at the lodge they are using new technology to safely look after those seniors…it’s at the front of everyone’s mind. And we’re just being extremely careful.”
“I would like to thank all of our EMS, Fire, RCMP and members of the public for coming out to salute all nurses in Bonnyville. I would like to thank Carmen Verrier from Pulp Cottage for getting the poster out to the community and my friend Rosslyn Gallant and Debbie from Victim Services for arranging the parade for us,” said Gagne.
“I just want to wish a happy Nurses Week to all my fellow nurses out there, every Health Care Aide, Licenced Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, and Nurse Practitioner. I’m just extremely proud to be part of this group of individuals. We are stronger together.”
PCN still working to meet community’s needs
Jessie Stein, executive director of Bonnyville and Cold Primary Care Networks, said they do have visits to the lodges, but due to the pandemic, in a different way.
“Right now, we’ve been offering virtual. So the nurses on-site help us with having the technology available for those residents to still have their visit with their physician. But we’ve been distancing still to not have anyone in the facility,” said Stein.
“We’re really focused on taking precautions around COVID-19 and supporting all of our providers and our patients and understanding how to protect themselves, but also one of the biggest priorities right now is to still manage all of our regular community health.
“So those patients that have chronic conditions or require ongoing care, like medication or assessments, mental health, addictions, all of those are focused on what we know. And how do we offer care in a new way that those patients are not forgotten. That’s really critical to the work we’re doing right now during this time.”
“They’ve [the nurses] have really built strong relationships with our patients. And I think that for our community has been able to trust the work that we’re doing through this to support them. So we’re really grateful for our team through this, and when we’re not in a pandemic.”