EDMONTON – May 6 marked the start of National Nursing Week in Canada, and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) is sending a sincere thank you to all nurses for the emotional and physical labour they do year-round.

This year’s Nursing Week theme is “A Voice to Lead – Health for All,” highlighting the power of nurses’ individual and collective voices as agents for change in health care.

“[Nursing Week] is a sober acknowledgement of the importance of professional nurses and their valuable work which benefits all Canadians,” said The College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA), the official licensing and regulatory body for LPNs in Alberta, including those AUPE proudly represents.

“Nursing care isn’t just one thing,” said AUPE President Guy Smith.“Hospitals and acute care for instance, are two important parts of the profession, but nurses are also a voice for the marginalized.

“Seniors, people with chronic illnesses and individuals with disabilities – those whose medical care is tied to their day-to-day living and whom some powerful people would prefer push into the shadows – are all people nurses see and stand up for daily,” Smith said.

AUPE represents close to 45,000 health-care employees across the province. They staff hospitals, long-term care facilities, supportive living homes, seniors’ residences, and travel between private homes. Many are LPNs and Health Care Aides (HCAs) doing nursing care work, while others assist nursing care teams in support positions.

All of them work together in solidarity with Registered Nurses and fellow LPNs to make Alberta’s health-care system, and other health-care systems, work for everyone.

“Nurses hold us at the beginning of life, before we can remember, and sometimes at the end. Even when they’re not treating illness, they’re helping prevent it, affecting our lives whether we see them or not,” Smith adds.

“This week is a special opportunity to recognize and thank them for this labour.”