#WhyIFight: Nurses Share Their Stories

June 10, 2022

This past Nursing Week, ONA took the unusual step of focusing on advocacy rather than only celebration. We honoured our members and all nurses, while recognizing that change is needed to secure the future of the nursing profession that our public health-care system depends upon. Based on this focus, our Nursing Week theme was Dedicated to Care, Fighting for Change.

In keeping with this theme, we asked nurses to share their stories on social media with the hashtag #WhyIFight. We asked them to share why they are still devoted to nursing and fighting for high quality public health care despite the many challenges. The following are the winning entries to ONA’s Nursing Week #WhyIFight social media campaign.

Douglas Bell

Access to quality healthcare, which reflects a core value of caring for one another. It takes strong nurses to stand up to a system that that has lost it's way. I want to be part of the force that stands up for those in need. Advocating and challenging the system requires solidarity

Karen McCoy

Happy Nursing Week and #WhyIFight is for social determinants of health. Health care is about housing, safe water, living wages, racial disparities, accessibility and much more. #WhyIFight is for better care. Ontario has the worst RN-population ratio in Canada. #WhyIFight is for the care the patients deserve.

Melissa Lynn Peters

This pandemic has brought on unprecedented nursing shortages as we balanced fearing for our lives without proper PPE, nurses leaving in droves to the US where they are making 2-5x what we make here or leaving nursing altogether, because although there are moments that bring us joy, there is heartbreak in dealing with short staffing, backordered equipment and increasingly more complicated cases. Nursing is a calling, there is no doubt. You have to be made of tough stuff just to deal with the endless bodily fluids that we get covered with and have to clean up on a constant basis. Traditionally, we are shown as angels. The community has clapped for us. But now with the threat of health care privatization, Bill 124 and now Bill 106, we feel undervalued, underappreciated and completely exhausted, physically and mentally. I am pretty easy going and can roll with a lot of things. But even I am struggling right now. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Pauli Beadman-Genier

Almost 30 years (Dec 1992) ago, I graduated to become a nurse. I was proud and oh so eager to save the world! I give a valiant attempt to do this every day. This is our third year in pandemic and let me tell you nurses are tired. We try our best to give our best care to every patient every time. Please be patient with us. We are understaffed, over worked and scared! This nurses week we are focusing on advocacy for Ontarians and their health-care system. Let’s hope our system improves and nurses get the break they need.

Bethel Lascano

In 2005, I was in 12th grade trying to figure out my future. My beloved grandpa (“Amang”), was battling gastric cancer at the time and although his treatment team worked hard to give him a little more time, he was eventually transferred to palliative care. As a young girl, I was tasked by the home care nurses to learn how to manage his G-tube feeds and site dressings. One of the last things he said to me was, “Thank you for being my nurse”. I had the great honour of singing to him as he took his last breath. I have been forever inspired. I started nursing school in 2006, graduated and 16 years later… am still standing and practicing as an RN in both the community (Mon-Fri) and in the hospital (weekends and holidays). #WhyIFight ? Every moment working with my patients brings me close to my Amang. I care and advocate for my patients as if they were my own family. I fight for your family… even if no one else is there. Even when people tell me to slow down or do less. I continue to answer the call. I show up. I’m still standing and I’m still smiling when I interact with my patients. I am so proud to be part of an amazing professional community that has been so resilient during unprecedented times. I salute all my amazing colleagues this week. You continue to inspire me every day. Happy Nursing Week.

Monique Parent

Three years into this pandemic – we continue to try to give our best day in and day out but it is getting harder and harder. We are short staffed and overworked every single day. This Nursing Week – we are fighting for changes to health care and improved working conditions. #whyIfight.

Annie LaRocque

Today marks the start of Nursing Week. Usually for me it’s marked with joy and hope for nurses everywhere. With this pandemic still here and the government not showing respect to nurses by removing Bill 124, this year is different. It’s hard to say happy Nursing Week this year as many are burnt out, on their way to burning out or just struggling due to lack of resources. But I am still here, I am still fighting for my patients, for my colleagues, for the future of the nursing profession and public health care. And for this, I wish all my colleagues and friends a happy Nursing Week and keep fighting.

Laura Ashley

I FIGHT because a 1: 7-8 ratio on a medicine unit can be deadly.

I FIGHT because a 1:6-8 ratio on a surgical unit can be deadly.

I FIGHT because a 1: 2-3 ratio in a critical care unit can be deadly.

I FIGHT because a 1: 8-10 ratio in mental health can be deadly.

I FIGHT because for every patient added on to a nurses workload there is an increased risk of mortality by 7%.

I FIGHT because a 10% increase in care left undone is linked to a 16% increase in patient mortality following a COMMON surgery.

I FIGHT for your loved ones because I care and because I know any given day that could be one of my loved ones in need of patient care.

I FIGHT because this is the reality in Ontario.

I FIGHT because Bill 124 has been a slap in the face for healthcare workers.


I FIGHT because ONTARIO is in a CRISIS

I FIGHT because we MUST RETAIN our Nurses

Safe Staffing Saves Lives!

Rachael Cooke

I am a Registered Nurse. I have worked the last two and a half years in a COVID ICU. Many days, I have been fearful and anxious going into work, not knowing what my working environment will look like – if I might be pulled to another floor or if I will have a good team to lead inexperienced staff. I have seen many people die and held iPads so their families could say goodbye, all while hearing that COVID isn’t real. But I continue to go into work because I love being a nurse. I love learning, working alongside highly skilled and educated colleagues, and caring for people the way I would want my family cared for. I continue to fight because you never know when you will be the one who needs health care and someone to advocate for you. But when you do, I want everyone to be able to access the best care possible and for it to be publicly funded.

Alicia Chhin

I work in the Birthing Suites, Obstetrics, and Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence team in Mississauga. As a nurse, I have brought newborns into the world, held parents’ hands as they watched their baby take their last breath, taught them the basics of caring for their new family member, and cared for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. My job is possible because I have an amazing team of nurses, doctors, allied health, and a nurse manager that keep our unit functional, safe, and generally make each shift enjoyable. We are a team and we are a family. When I started my first job as a fully-licensed RN, I was full of love and excitement over my new job and my new profession. Unfortunately, over the past three years, I have seen members of my work family leave the hospital or leave the profession due to burnout and the constant disrespect shown to us by the government. Bill 124 and Bill 106 undermines our ability to bargain for our worth, while the government continues to tout us as “healthcare heroes” and the “backbone of health care”.