International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife: A Celebration and Commemoration of Indispensable Defence Team Members

June 1, 2020 – Defence Stories

Captain Isabelle Dubé
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    Captain Isabelle Dubé, Nursing Officer with 41 Canadian Forces Health Services Centre, and Mater Corporal Isabelle Brochu, Medical Assistant with 51 Field Ambulance, clean the medical equipment for the tracheotomy of a resident at Ste. Anne’s Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, as part of Operation LASER on May 15, 2020.

    Photo: Corporal (Cpl) Genevieve Beaulieu, Imagery Technician, Valcartier Imagery Section

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated this year as International Year of the Nurse and Midwife (You are now leaving the Government of Canada website). It is an especially fitting tribute, given the challenges currently faced by Canadian Forces Health Services Group, and particularly its nursing community during the pandemic.

This international commemoration is meant to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. More importantly, this commemoration hopes to raise the profile of nurses and midwives globally in an effort to achieve universal health coverage for the world's population by 2030. This is an important global undertaking as nurses are often the first, and in some instances, the only health professionals people may have access to in some countries.

Nurses are indispensable members of the healthcare team.  They make up one of our largest health care professions in the department with over 295 civilian and 363 military nurses employed across the country. Department of National Defence nurses have diverse clinical expertise which ensures quality care is delivered to our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members. They have specialized education and training in community health, primary care, advanced practice nursing (Nursing Practitioners), case management, home care, medical-surgical, perioperative care, emergency and intensive care, mental health, and aeromedical evacuation. 

Captain Myriam Moreau
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    Captain Myriam Moreau, nurse with 25 Canadian Forces Health Services Centre (Bagotville) works at the Auclair residential and long-term care centre in Montreal, Quebec during Operation LASER on May 9, 2020.

    Photo credit: Corporal (Cpl) Genevieve Beaulieu, Imagery Technician, Valcartier Imaging Section

Since the COVID-19 initial breakout, CAF Nursing Officers have been deployed to China, Japan and the United States to support repatriation efforts of our own Canadian citizens during the ongoing pandemic. Recently, they have answered the call to care for Canadian elderly in Long-term Care Facilities in Ontario and Quebec. At this time, approximately 70 military nurses are deployed under Operation LASER. Like all nurses, their unwavering commitment during this unprecedented time is fully recognized and most appreciated.

In celebration of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife (link accessible only on the National Defence network), we encourage you to celebrate and thank all in the nursing profession, as well as all of our health services professions, who are working tirelessly to make a difference during these challenging times.


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