Ottawa Community

Let's hear it for the nurses: Your National Nursing Week shout-outs

CBC Ottawa asked you to share your special shout-outs to the nurses in your lives as part of National Nursing Week, which runs from May 11 to 17. We received many thoughtful messages from parents, siblings, partners, co-workers and friends.

We received many thoughtful messages to parents, siblings, partners and friends

Our ongoing COVID-19 coverage has showcased perspectives from front-line workers in various medical professions, as well as those working in grocery stores, gas stations and businesses, but this week was all about the nurses. 

CBC Ottawa asked you to share your special shout-outs to the nurses in your lives as part of National Nursing Week, which runs from May 11 to 17.

We received many thoughtful messages from parents, siblings, partners, co-workers and friends. Click the name below or scroll through the list to read some of these special shout-outs. 

Messages have been edited for length and clarity. 

Joanne MacLean

Left: Joanne MacLean with her nursing graduation photo and granddaughter wearing her nursing cap from the 1970s. Right: Joanne and Andrea MacLean. (Andrea MacLean)

"My mother is a retired labour and delivery nurse turned home palliative care nurse. She has both welcomed and blessed thousands of people entering and exiting our earth with a smile and kind word. For years, for friends and strangers she has been the answer to, 'let me just ask my mom.' This has saved many sleepless nights and needless anxiety. One of the 8,957 reasons I love and adore the selfless role of nursing."

Message from Andrea MacLean

Evelyne and Stephanie Langelier

Evelyne Langelier, left, and Stephanie Langelier, right, are both RPNs working on the front lines. (Evelyne Langelier/Stephanie Langelier)

"Evie is an registered practical nurse (RPN) completing her degree at University of Ottawa.  She has been working for Ottawa Inner City Health (OICH) in the Addiction and Harm Reduction programs. When her final consolidation placement at the Montfort Hospital was halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Evie went to work at OICH's COVID-19 isolation clinic for the city's vulnerable community.  She is a rock star in my book.

My eldest daughter, Stephanie, is also an RPN.  She had been working in a clinic environment doing remote patient counselling (telemedicine), until recently.  As the COVID-19 pandemic hit long-term care the hardest, Stephanie went back to working with her beloved seniors, and is now working for Madonna Care Community in Orleans, where they are facing serious outbreaks. Stephanie is a hard-working, warm-hearted professional who cares about her seniors and their families.  I am very proud of her!"

Message from Nicole Beaudette

Cheryl Joly 

Cheryl Joly has been working in the community for more than 30 years. (Submitted by Guy Joly )

"Cheryl is a front-line worker at Canadian Blood Services. She does triage and ensures the process, especially during these tough times, is performed in a professional and organized manner. She shows compassion and she is so ever thankful to the donors. She retires in November, but she knows the importance of being a nurse and demonstrates through her actions, love and caring for her donors. She is an angel sent to help now and for the last 30-plus years."

Message from Guy Joly

Sarah Cleyn and family

Sarah Cleyn wrote a special shout-out to all the nurses in her family. From left to right: Mary Farnand, Meghan Farnand, Maureen Farnand, Sarah Cleyn, Ruth Farnand, Mary Pat Cleyn and Liz Cleyn. (Submitted by Sarah Cleyn)

"I am a registered nurse (RN) currently working on the palliative care team at the Ottawa Hospital. This, the 'Year of the Nurse' has highlighted how important the nursing profession is in my life. I am privileged to have been raised by a strong, passionate nurse. My mother, a retired RN, taught me what it means to pursue my dreams and provide compassionate, dignified care. She encouraged me to pursue a nursing career and I am eternally grateful for her support.

Along with my mother, my two sisters and sister-in-law are nurses, all of them working at the Ottawa Hospital. Mary works at the cancer assessment centre and Meghan works in the ICU. Ruth works at the Family Health Clinic. I have never been more proud of them than during these past few weeks as we have faced the COVID-19 crisis.

Not only are my own mother and sisters nurses, I married into a family of nurses! My mother-in-law Mary Pat is a retired RN and my sister-in-law Liz works in internal medicine at the Ottawa Hospital. They are a source of inspiration and pride.

Happy Nurses Week to all of the nurses! COVID-19 may have changed the way we provide our care, but it has not and will not dampen our competence and compassion."

Message from Sarah Cleyn

PICU nurses at CHEO 

Dr. Anna-Theresa Lobos wrote a special shout-out to the nurses in the paediatric intensive care unit at CHEO. (Dr. Graham Chamberlain)

"I am so grateful for the team of nurses in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at CHEO. Every day, using their vast knowledge and skills, they care for the sickest children in our community. As they guide families through often their darkest hours, they treat their patients with the highest level of care and compassion.

While their work can be filled with tragedy, it is usually deeply rewarding. These nurses show up day after day, week after week with hope, loving energy and dedication to their vocation. I deeply admire their vulnerability, courage and resilience. I have worked as a physician in the PICU for over 15 years and am so proud to call these nurses my teammates. They are the best of the best and we are lucky to have them care for our community's sickest children. They are truly making a positive difference in the lives of children, youth and their families."

Message from Dr. Anna-Theresa Lobos

'I deeply admire their vulnerability, courage and resilience,' writes Anna-Theresa Lobos in her shout-out to CHEO nurses. (Brooke Akeson)

Stefanie Charles 

Meghan Downes (right) wrote a message to her friend and co-worker, Stefanie Charles. (Submitted by Meghan Downes)

"The world's greatest mother, nurse, co-worker and friend! Thank you for all that you do, Stef!!"

Message from Meghan Downes

Bonnie Taylor 

Emily Taylor wrote a special shout-out to her mom, Bonnie. (Submitted by Emily Taylor)

"Bonnie Taylor is many things; a mother, a friend, a sister and she is a nurse. Throughout her career that has spanned over 35 years, she has dedicated herself to her profession and to the patients she cares for. She is compassionate, genuine, knowledgeable, hilarious and brings calm to any storm with her ability to manage in a fast-paced and high-stress environment.

She is a force to be reckoned with and is a strong advocate for her fellow nurses, as well as for patients. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who does not speak highly of her. Her dedication throughout these unprecedented times has remained steadfast and unwavering. She is the embodiment of what a nurse should be and I am proud to call her Mom and Dean is lucky to call her Nana."

Message from Emily Taylor

Darryl Rennie 

Monique Rennie sent us a special shout-out to her 'Superman' husband, Darryl. The photo of the two of them, left, was taken at the Nurses Gala in 2018. (Submitted by Monique Rennie )

"Authentic, honest, true. Darryl Rennie is a registered practical nurse who brings his skills, honed over 22 years, to his work for the Royal Ottawa geriatric inpatient department. This unit has evolved and Darryl has absolutely been part of the unit's growth in dementia care. I've now worked with this compassionate and loyal nurse for 13 years. I have been very blessed to know he is as authentic in his off duty persona.

My husband of now 8 years is gentle, respectful and has professional report with the geriatric patients and their families. If you need a smile and maybe didn't know you needed one, Darryl with throw out dad, jokes, bad jokes, impression voices, but his strength is his repertoire of information and recall of dates, events, names, who was present, who your family is and their names. He's a Jeopardy junkie and Star Wars, Marvel patron. My nurse husband, Darryl Rennie, is my Superman."

Message from Monique Rennie

Lisa Meeds 

'She is a wonderful human being and an amazing nurse!' Kim Sigouin wrote about her cousin, Lisa Meeds. (Lisa Meed)

"Lisa Meeds is my cousin and she has worked as a nurse for 13 years. She currently works at ParaMed. She is a hard worker and absolutely dedicated to her patients. Everyone who knows her comments first and foremost on her kindness and warmth, and her selflessness as she enthusiastically tends to your well-being. She's won two consecutive Faces of Ottawa Awards for her role as 'Favourite Nurse.' Moreover, her job isn't just a job. It's her life. She helps out family and friends, regardless of the chaos in her own life. She provides helpful tips to keep you healthy and her personality is stellar!

Not only does she care for humans, but for animals too. She has loved and cared for three amazing dogs, one of which recently passed away. She was by his side nurturing and comforting him right to the last second. I can't imagine my life without her. She has cared for me and my partner's health, and every encounter with her erupts in laughter. She is a wonderful human being and an amazing nurse! She deserves some love and recognition."

Message from Kim Sigouin

Rebecca McCloskey

'Rebecca gets along with any patient and always finds a way to make them laugh,' writes Ellen Obst in her shout-out to Rebecca McCloskey. (Rebecca McCloskey)

"Rebecca is an amazingly compassionate and unique nurse that I've worked beside for four years and is now working in the intensive care unit at the Queensway Carleton Hospital. Rebecca gets along with any patient and always finds a way to make them laugh. She put the Beatles on in the morning for bed baths, and always goes the extra mile for patients even if it puts her behind."

Message from Ellen Obst

Julie Frederick

The nursing team at Alta Vista Retirement Residence. From left to right: Samantha De Araujo, Lily Alemu, Julie Frederick and Jorell Ong. (Christine O'Grady)

"Julie is the Director of Health and Wellness at Alta Vista Retirement Residence. Julie is a young woman with children and is in her position temporarily, covering a maternity leave. Who would have imagined that she would have to manage the nursing and PSW department in a residence of 150 seniors, including assisted living and dementia care, during a pandemic?

She has stepped up to the plate in every way and has managed to keep our residence COVID-free! She manages her team with strength and conviction and our residents with kindness and compassion. She has inspired all of us with her leadership. She jokes about coming home, changing her clothes in the garage and running half naked up the stairs into the shower while her kids laugh. She is fearless in the face of COVID-19 and a true warrior!

Thank you Julie for your dedication to keeping our residents safe!"

Message from Christine O'Grady

Montfort Hospital ICU nurses

"I am a third-year medical student at the University of Ottawa, and work as an ICU nurse (RN) at the Montfort Hospital. In the light of this pandemic, I reached out and offered to join my team again, since I have been taken away from clinical duty as a medical student in Ottawa.

I just wanted to reach out and congratulate and underline the work and dedication of my nursing colleagues at the Montfort Hospital ICU. As this pandemic unravels, we witness the importance of team effort and the contribution that each of its members plays. Even though I have been absent for some time, rejoining my team was like finding my family again.

They are some of the most hardworking people I know, they are patient, they are especially funny, and they are so so smart. Most of my colleagues are enrolled in extra curricular classes whether pursuing a Masters or Certificates. They are teachable, creative and if anything they have made me the person I am today. The life in the ICU is one that is not easily understood. We are up on our feet all day, catering to the sickest of the sick. We often sacrifice our breaks, spend sleepless nights managing dialysis, failing organs, doing CPR, analyzing heart rhythms, trying to foresee any critical outcomes.

Going back to work as an RN has been humbling and I remembered how much I have missed them. I have missed working with them and learning about them. They are a great team, and I want them to feel like their hard work is noticed.  

I must say that my ICU girls are STRONG and we will get through this as a team.

Thank you and Happy Nursing Week!"

Message from Anne-Marie Friesen

Nikole Watson 

Lana Cole, left, wrote to her best friend and nurse at Kingston General Hospital, Nikole Watson. (Submitted by Lana Cole )

"The special nurse in my life is my best friend since birth, Nikole Watson. She currently works at Kingston General Hospital and she has got to be the nicest and most kind nurse out there. There is really no one else who you would want looking after you than her.

She has been working as a nurse for the past few years and she loves every moment of it. I am so thankful to say that where she is working in Kingston has not yet been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and I very much hope it stays that way. 

Thank you so much Nikole for all of your hard work and dedication to saving people's lives. Everyone in your life loves you for your sense of humour and all around happiness. I can't wait until we can see each other again. I hope it won't be too long from now. Love you!"

Message from Lana Cole 

Elaine Atkinson-Bowen

'She certainly deserves kudos for everything she has done for me, my daughter and patients in the ER,' writes Debbie Rosenlehner, right, in her shout-out to friend, Elaine Atkinson-Bowen. (Submitted by Debbie Rosenlehner)

"Elaine has been a nurse for 35 years and works at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. We're from Belleville and my daughter, Jennifer was airlifted there to the ICU. Elaine and I lost track of each other in 1975. I reconnected with her at the hospital as I stayed there for weeks with my daughter. Elaine graciously offered me a room in her home and brought my lunch/ dinner for me on the days she worked. My daughter almost lost her life four times during this ordeal and without Elaine it would have been so much harder to cope.

I know this isn't a COVID-19 story, but I'm certain that Elaine is giving all she has at work in the ER to help those who are ill and protect those who aren't. She certainly deserves kudos for everything she has done for me, my daughter and patients in the ER!"

Message from Debbie Rosenlehner

Aswini Ganesh

Pavan Vijay Kumar wrote a message to his sister, Aswini Ganesh, who works at Perley Rideau Veterans' Health Centre. (Submitted by Pavan Vijay Kumar)

"It takes a lot of courage to make a decision as a second-year nursing student to put her own struggles aside for the benefit of those most in need. By putting her society first in the priority list, Aswini devotes her time to the Perley Rideau Veterans' Health Centre and shows full commitment in performing the heroics that many of her colleagues across the country are showing. Having carried out nursing duties in various other locations, this looks to be her biggest test of them all.

I am proud to call her my sister as her determination and willingness to grow has groomed her to succeed in times like these. Though it is inevitable that she and many others are vulnerable on the front line, I want her to know that our family loves, supports and prays for her wellbeing. The bravery she shows is commendable and like no other, and I hope and pray for all those working tirelessly to emerge victorious in the relentless battle against COVID-19."

Message from Pavan Vijay Kumar