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Statement from Alex Munter on Nursing Week 2013
Nursing Week: Letters. Oh we get letters.

One of my earliest mentors was the late Marion Dewar, an RN who subsequently became mayor of Ottawa. There were many things I loved about Marion – most of all her innate sense of optimism – but also the fact that she possessed a powerful blend of toughness and compassion.

As I began to work in the health and social services sector in the 1990’s, I came to recognize those traits in almost every nurse I met. As I got the chance to work with nurses, my respect and admire for the profession deepened. In other words, I came to believe that nurses rock!

As I venture into my second year on the job here at CHEO, I’m proud to be able to say: CHEO nurses rock! I’m thrilled to once again have the opportunity to celebrate the more than 650 nurses in our hospital and the work you do to make the lives of children, youth and families better. As the largest professional group at CHEO, you are among the most visible health care workers interacting with almost every child or youth that walks through our front doors. It’s a well-established fact that the quality of health care increases when patients have more contact with nurses. As we work towards our goal of delivering an exceptional patient experience, we must keep that in mind.

It is not surprising, then, that so many of the letters and emails I receive from the public are about you.

In the last week or two, I received a couple of messages that stand out. One letter came from a young mother whose daughter was born in 2011 with various complications. She spent four months at CHEO under your care. According to the mother, CHEO nurses “kept my baby girl safe and always made sure she was well looked after,” adding “to all the nurses, I would like to say THANK YOU sooo much!! I spent every day there with her and you never made me feel like I was in the way…” The mother and daughter still visit CHEO regularly for appointments and check-ups. For them, “every time we come back… reminds me of the hard times but also the good times.”

Another email I received was from a father whose newborn had hip dysplasia. The nurses, he says, were “supportive, kind, and professional.” He took the time to email me to say that we should keep the nurses, one in particular, in the highest regard.

Indeed, that’s what we hope to do this week. Like others in the hospital, you’re on the frontlines applying your expertise, your passion and your innovative care to help kids and families be their healthiest. From the rest of us to all of you, thank you for your work!

Sincerely and with great admiration,

Alex Munter
President & CEO
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