Red Deer joined the centennial celebration to honour the work of registered nurses in Alberta.
On Tuesday, a travelling display from the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) came to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre for the day featuring nursing artifacts, interactive digital media centre and nursing banners from different eras over the past 100 years.
Dr. Shannon Spenceley, CARNA president, said it’s time to recognize the work of registered nurses and nurse practitioners as leaders when it comes to clinical practice, health policy and research and beyond.
She said right now Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee, who was a long-time registered nurse, is now leading the efforts to tackle the Fort McMurray wildfire.
“We have a century of effort and leadership to celebrate,” said Dr. Shannon Spenceley, CARNA president on Tuesday.
She said Alberta has a rich history in the development of nursing education. The first doctorate program for nursing in Canada was at the University of Alberta.
Now registered nurses are playing a major role in the shift towards more community-based health care like primary care networks, she said.
“I think the shift to community-based care is going to be one of the largest shifts that we see in terms of health care moving forward. I think we’re going to see these giant hospitals that we’re building everywhere are going to be very unusual. They are going to become very high-intensity treatment centres for very short periods of time. We can already see that now.”
Spenceley said a pilot project underway in Southern Alberta is showing the benefits of providing more nursing care at long-term and supportive living facilities instead of sending residents to hospital.
“Other places in the world have figured this out. You need to be able to provide that care where they are. That is a custom-made job for a registered nurse or nurse practitioner.
“We have a health care system right now that is designed to meet the needs of providers. We get everyone together in one building because, gosh, it’s convenient for us. I think we’re gradually going to build a health care system that is a lot more responsive to where people are and what they need,” Spenceley said.
CARNA named 100 nurses Centennial Nurses as part of the celebration. Recipients were nominated by membership for their exemplary service and included Ronnie Biletsky, of Red Deer, and Teresa Kish, of Olds.