Today, MNU launches a new campaign that is dedicated to bringing public awareness to an extremely fractured healthcare system. Today, we unveil the outRAGEous campaign.
Two years ago, just as the pandemic was settling in, we spent 2021 focused on inner courage. It was a time when many of our members were feeling afraid and uncertain. There were plenty of unknowns around COVID-19 which greatly impacted not only the front line and their families, but also our society as a whole.
Back then, things weren't great in health care either, but they certainly weren't what they are now. Many people, particularly nurses, felt angry at the way in which our government was handling the pandemic measures. Our ask back then was not to let those emotions go to waste, but to channel your Inner CouRAGE and keep fighting the good fight.
As we entered 2022, that feeling of being courageous was waning. 2022 asked us to continue going despite the exhaustion that had set in. We called for our members to Stay Courageous. In fact, that was the theme of our 2022 Annual General Meeting. Staying courageous as a union called for each one of us to continue advocating for those who could not.
Staying courageous at times was speaking up. Staying courageous was not giving up, not losing faith in the ability to provide health care for all.
As we enter 2023, it seems many of us are out of anger. So many people are feeling upset that they cannot provide safe levels of care, they're feeling apathetic - and leaving the system altogether. On a daily basis we are hearing about incidents of violence and abuse in the workplace. We are hearing about nurses who are working 24 hours straight, constantly missing a breaks, restricting fluids so they do not have to stop.
At this point we are living in a world that is flooded with apathy and a health care system that cannot even keep its head above water. If it weren't for agency and overtime, this system would have collapsed.
Empty promises, big announcements and smooth-talking politicians have become the norm. Our health care system is broken. But it is salvageable. Our nurses who are continuing to reach out to us and share the issues they see on a daily basis means they still care. It means there is hope. But not if we don't do something about it.
As we move towards a provincial election, the Manitoba Nurses Union is asking all Manitobans to get engaged. Continuing on the way we have been is absolutely outRAGEous. We need each and every one of you to vote like your life depends on it. Because it really does.
Health care is not a nurses' issue. This issue does not discriminate based on gender or age. This is a Manitoba issue. And sitting back and watching our system crumble is completely unacceptable.
We must do more to protect the vulnerable and prevent the few nurses that we have in this program from leaving. We need concerted efforts to retain and recruit more nurses. We need mentors staying in the system. We need politicians to start listening to the front line. And perhaps, most importantly, we need to stand together on the issues. That is the only way that we can make change and turn things around. Please don't wait until it's too late.
Darlene Jackson, President
Manitoba Nurses Union