Home » Open Letter to Nurses » Open Letter to Nurses: Nursing Week 2023

This week is dedicated to the many health care professionals whose work, dedication and commitment is recognized and acknowledged. I want to take the opportunity to recognize your efforts. I am and continue to be deeply grateful for the work you do every day to support each other and the well-being of individuals in our community.

Monday, May 8 to Sunday, May 14 marks National Nursing Week, and on Friday, May 12 we recognize the contributions of our nurse colleagues who identify as Indigenous as well. Thank you for all you do in the workplace and with our clients to make connections and create spaces for belonging.

New this year, we’ve put together a calendar of the recognition and celebratory events taking place across the region which you can find here. You can also find more information about Nursing Week activities on the Canadian Nurses Association website.

The theme for Nursing Week this year is #OurNursesOurFuture, which showcases the many roles that nurses play in a patient’s health care journey. The pandemic brought to light the courage and commitment that nurses work under every day and showed the important role that nurses play in the community.

In my first note of 2023, I said I was coming into this year with promise and hope that this will be the start of better things to come. As we recognize Nursing Week this year, I want to share updates on some of the work that’s happening to address the challenges we’ve been facing, specifically staffing challenges and improving the well-being of nurses, at work and beyond. You can find more on that below.

Every year, we reach out to recognize nurses from a variety of environments to shine a light on your lived experiences, unique specializations and lessons learned. Follow along on social media, or on our website to read a new profile each day this week.

I also want to acknowledge that we have traditionally recognized Allied Health Professionals this week as well. Last fall, it was decided that the Winnipeg Health Region and other service delivery organizations in the province would celebrate Allied Health Professionals annually in the fall. I know that many continue to recognize you this week, including the MAHCP, whose calendar of events for members can be found here. I want you to know that we see and appreciate the important role you play in the treatment, care and recovery of those we serve, and look forward to celebrating together in the fall.

Thank you all again for the care you provide, your compassion and your ongoing commitment to those we serve.

Mary Anne Lynch
Chief Nursing Officer, WRHA

New Grad Day

On March 17, we held New Grad Day for nurses in person for the first time since 2019. It was an excellent day of learning, and I loved getting the chance to meet you and talk about how we can support your transition into the workplace and independent practice. We had a great turnout, thanks in large part to a direct text message campaign that we piloted for the first time. We also were able to hear from attendees in our follow-up survey, which included new questions to ensure nurses have a say in the planning of this event in the future. They told us:

  • They want more opportunities and channels to express themselves so that they can feel heard by the organization, their leadership, their managers and their supervisors
  • They want a sense of community and connection for the career stage they are currently in
  • They didn’t know they could ask for a mentor

These are all important pieces of feedback that we will continue working to address, and you can find an update on the mentorship program later in this note. Looking forward to next year!

New Grad Day Video

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Mentorship Program – Senior Nurses Needed

As noted above, one big thing that came out of New Grad Day was a lot of interest from new nurses in our mentorship program. In order to match that interest, we need more experienced nurses to sign up to be mentors.

There are so many people who acted as mentors to me throughout my career, not only inspiring me but sharing experience and knowledge that was invaluable to me in my development as a nurse. I’ve also had the opportunity to mentor others, and to be able to share what I’ve learned over the years has been incredibly rewarding.

I know how hard you are working already, but this is an important opportunity to set our colleagues, who are just starting out, up for success, and help keep them in the healthcare system for many years to come.

I’m also happy to share that we are working on improved access to join the Nurse Mentorship Program. This is an exciting update that will make tracking, finding and providing support and mentorship easier and more efficient for mentors, mentees and managers. It will also help us ensure that each mentee is paired with a mentor who is a good fit for their needs and professional goals.

Learn more about becoming a mentor by contacting Lesia Yasinski at lyasinski@wrha.mb.ca or fill out the form linked below.

Become a Nurse Mentor

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Well-Being and Self-Care Opportunities

I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a number of well-being benefits that are available to all health care staff working at WRHA sites and health centres. For more information, check out the details and links below:

St. Boniface Hospital: A variety of fitness classes – yoga, strength training, cardio and Zumba – as well as a weight room and cardio equipment are available at The Staff ‘n Motion Fitness Centre. Memberships start at $12 per pay period. Learn more

Deer Lodge Centre: 24/7 access to the Staff Fitness Centre. Memberships start at $15.00 per month. Learn more

Misericordia Health Centre: Circuit training, cycling, indoor walking and 24/7 access to MizFits Gym. Memberships start at $17.00 per month. Learn more

Seven Oaks General Hospital: Personal wellness planning with a professional exercise consultant, more than 150 weekly fitness classes, an indoor walking track, and two complimentary guest passes at the Wellness Institute. Memberships are $35.00 per month. Learn more

Riverview Health Centre: Access massage therapy services as part of your Riverview Health Club membership as well as 24/7 access to exercise bikes, free weights, floor mats, rowers, elliptical trainers and much more. Membership is $23.50 per month. Learn more

Victoria Hospital: The Health & Wellness Committee Grant disburses funds annually for activities such as the Walk Around Challenge, Nutrition Care and the Winter Outdoor Activity Challenge; The ACCESS Staff Wellness Program Grant disburses funds annually for activities such as monthly health snack days, fitness events, stress reduction exercises and holiday mixers; Plus staff can take advantage of Free Coffee Fridays (first of every month) and Popcorn Thursdays (every other Thursday), in addition to the new bike locker added for staff at the ACCESS Fort Gary location. Learn more

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International Nurse Recruitment

In February of this year, the Manitoba government, along with representatives from Shared Health and the Winnipeg Health Region, undertook a recruitment mission trip to the Philippines as part of our shared efforts to recruit and retain internationally trained nurses.

I’m happy to share that we generated high levels of interest from qualified candidates, and were able to provide 350 letters of interest following our on-site interviews.

Manitoba and Shared Health are now working with the Philippines government to accelerate the next required stage, the finalization and approval of formal letters of offer. Once these are approved by the Philippines government, specific letters will be issued to each individual candidate to enable the Canadian immigration process.

We are also maintaining contact with those we met in the Philippines to ensure they remain invested in Manitoba and up-to-date on progress.

I look forward to sharing more information with you soon, but in the meantime wanted to highlight one of the excellent Internationally Educated Nurses already in our system, Joel Stephen.

In the Spotlight: Joel Stephen

Photo of Joel Stephen

As an Internationally Educated Nurse, Joel Stephen understands the challenge of transitioning to practice in a new country, but also how rewarding it can be.

Joel immigrated to Canada from northern India in 2011, with six years of experience as a nurse and nurse manager on an orthopedic surgery unit.

He now works as a nurse in the rehab unit on 4 South at Victoria Hospital. “Having not worked in a hospital in Canada before, I was nervous, but the team was so welcoming and really affirmed my skills as a nurse,” he says. “It’s really the same here as the way it was in India – we all work together and support each other as colleagues.”

Read more of Joel’s story

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Strategic Plan

And finally, a reminder that the new Strategic Plan is now available online.

Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the plan if you haven’t already. We will also be hosting staff town halls in the near future where you can share your feedback on the plan, as well as hear from Mike, me, and the rest of the executive team about what we’re doing to implement it and to track our progress in reaching our goals.

If you have questions or topics you want us to address during these town halls, please send them any time to communications@wrha.mb.ca.

2023-2028 Strategic Plan

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Once again, if you have thoughts, ideas, or things you want to know, I want to hear from you. Please email me any time.