September 9, 2021 – The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and Canadian nurses stand strongly united behind science and the best available evidence as the basis for professional nursing practice and decision-making. Nursing is a rigorously educated, regulated and autonomous profession, and it is first a discipline based in science — not a random gathering of personal opinions and ideologies.
The reckless views of a handful of discredited people who identify as nurses have aligned in some cases with angry crowds who are putting public health and safety at risk. They have drawn in anti-science, anti-mask, anti-vaccine, anti-public health followers whose beliefs align with theirs. For some reason they would have us believe that millions of the best educated health scientists, public health experts, physicians and nurses globally have all missed something they have not. Their outlandish assertions about science would be laughable were they not so dangerous.
The media used to be filled with images of the public cheering nurses around the world; now the focus is on images of surly mobs happy to stand in front of health-care settings and harass, threaten, and even assault health-care workers coming and going in the business of saving lives. These protests have stunned and saddened exhausted health-care workers. They are demoralizing, infuriating and dangerous. The situation is completely unacceptable, and it must stop immediately.
All opinions are not equal when it comes to public safety. Nurses have worked for more than a century to build the regulatory, education, common competencies, professional and union structures that have generated one of the workforces most respected and trusted by the public. And the Canadian nursing workforce is admired around the world for its high levels of education and standards of practice. CNA is proud of these world-leading achievements. Some are willing to put all that at risk; we are not.
Anti-public health disinformation threatens to confuse a tired and bewildered public by deliberately misrepresenting personal ideology as facts, and science as conspiracy. The public should be assured that the vast majority of Canada’s 448,000 regulated nurses are united in their commitment to operate from a stringent code of ethics, and they are duty-bound to use science, evidence, and facts in assessing, planning, and evaluating the care they deliver to people across Canada. This scientific approach is a fundamental ideology of modern nursing.
We will continue to monitor this situation and do all we can to maintain the trust and ensure the safety of people everywhere in Canada.
Tim Guest, M.B.A., B.Sc.N., RN
Michael Villeneuve, M.Sc., B.Sc.N., RN, FAAN
Chief Executive Officer