What does it mean to be a nurse right now?

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Whether they’re delivering care from the hospital, a community clinic, or virtually from home, IWK nurses continue to be there for patients and families throughout the pandemic.

To recognize their contributions at this unprecedented time in history, IWK nurses were asked what it means to be a nurse right now.

Here’s what they said.

MN, RN, CPMHN, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Community Mental Health & Addictions, Bedford/Sackville Branch



RN MN, Interim Director, Nursing and Professional Practice



Waterville, Nova Scotia



RN, MN, CHPCN(C),Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT)


For me, nursing has gone so much farther beyond the foundations of the task related care and the knowledge of the human body and how to manage symptoms, diseases and treatments. The depths of nursing extend into human relationships; walking these vulnerable journeys with so many patients and families and having the privilege to be part of their story, their pain and their experiences.

When medicine can no longer fix or cure, there is always care and presence and that for me has inspired my practice and kept me moving forward on the hardest days.  We truly can make a difference in the lives of so many. Accompanying people in the most tender moments and being part of unimaginable pain and suffering is simply an honor.

MSN, RN, CPMHN(C), Clinical Nurse Specialist, Community Mental Health & Addictions – Halifax Clinic


I’ve been a registered nurse for 41 years, and as my retirement date fast approaches, colleagues have been asking me; “What’s it like to be retiring, right now?” My answer; “I feel incredibly privileged.” Although my work experience is limited during a global pandemic, I’ve had a wealth of experience, working amid challenging and difficult times. And, it’s during these times that I’ve truly experienced what it is to be a nurse. Nursing at its core is a caring profession, not just when it’s easy, but especially when it’s hard, when together, we’re a little more brave and kind.


RN, PhD Nursing Candidate, Staff Nurse, Adult Surgery Unit and COVID-19 Primary Assessment Centre


Being a nurse right now means learning from and collaborating with people who I may have never met or spoken to otherwise. Enhanced and effective care amidst the COVID-19 pandemic would not be possible without interdisciplinary approaches- and every person on the team counts. You appreciate each other differently.


NP Orthopedics, NP Cardiology and NP General Surgery


Being a nurse right now (during a global pandemic) means…

Being Informed
With information available from so many sources, we feel responsible as nurses to keep up to date. We make sure to get our information from reliable sources, and we check back regularly since things are changing so rapidly.

Being Flexible
Health care resources are being challenged more than ever. As nurses, we feel it’s important to remain flexible and creative as we are being asked to adapt and change at a very rapid pace.

Being Positive
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, uncertain and anxious during this time. As nurses, our positive attitudes can be helpful as well pull together to care for our patients and their families.

Being Supportive
Not only is it vital for us to support the patients and families we work with right now, but we feel it’s of the utmost importance to support each other as nurses. In the face of changes to our usual practices, as well as re-deployment to unfamiliar areas, we need to be there for each other. Even a compassionate listening ear can make a major difference in someone’s day.

Happy Nurses Week 2020 to all the amazing nurses we are proud to work with every day!


NP, Clinical Leader of Operations, Youth Forensic Services/Secure Care Unit, Waterville


During these times or any times, nursing offers the privileged opportunity to enter into the heart of vulnerability and offer care, comfort, presence, expertise, compassion, kindness and strength.

We have in moments past and will in moments forward continue to show up, and enter into the lives of others. Wherever nurses are: in hospitals, clinics, outposts, war zones, detention, public and community health centers, we care for those who are sick and suffering, those who are sad and anxious, those who are struggling and vulnerable, those who are facing both peaks of joy and valleys of sorrow.  We journey with, alongside, step into care, often stepping into risk, stepping outside of our own comfort to be able to comfort those who need it most.

In the exquisite moments of life, nurses are able to participate in the stories of others as they are written and unfold. Often our part is small, it is showing up, it is moving into care and the work in front of us… but as nurses we also know, there are those moments as well, when the right word led to courage, the early intervention led to recovery, where kindness led to healing, presence led to comfort, listening (of the struggle) led to advocacy, the unguarded sigh and shed tear led to shared humanity, and where leadership led to change.

Nurses, step up, they step into care, not only in these COVID times, but before them and beyond.  I realize more and more often of the privilege of nursing. I am humbled to be a participant in the stories of others, and proud to journey alongside so many wonderful nursing colleagues along the way.

Happy Nurses Week!


MN, NP, CPEDN(C), Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology


Being a nurse on the pediatric hematology/oncology unit, where some of the most immunocompromised children in the Maritime provinces are admitted, certainly raises the level of concern for our patients, families and staff during Covid-19.  Our families are all too familiar with being proactive about hand hygiene and trying to limit illness exposure for their child; it unfortunately comes with the initial diagnosis.  What I have witnessed since the pandemic began on our unit, is our incredible nursing staff going the extra mile (beyond the countless extra miles they always go) by continuing to provide life-saving treatments, reassurance and laughter to families who often have the weight-of-the-world on their shoulders, without the added worry of a global pandemic.  I am so fiercely proud of the 6-Link and 6-North nursing staff for the high-level of care they provide to our kids everyday!

May 11 – 17, 2020 is Nursing Week in Canada. As set out by the International Council of Nurses, the theme for this year is Nurses: A Voice to Lead — Nursing the World to Health. Additionally, the World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honour of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.