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Ruta Valaitis

Ruta Valaitis, RN, PhD
Associate Professor and Dorothy C. Hall Chair in Primary Health Care Nursing
School of Nursing, McMaster University

Inspirational Primary Health Care Nursing Stories to Motivate and Educate

Are you in need of inspiration? Are you unsure about what nurses do in settings beyond the acute care hospital? Are you wondering about contributions that nurses make every day to implement a primary health care approach in their work in a variety of workplace settings? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’ve come to the right place!

This series of moving stories about the remarkable contributions of ten Canadian nurses and nurse practitioners addresses all of these questions and more. By reading these poignant stories you’ll quickly get a sense of the breadth of nursing practice, a taste of exceptional nurse-led innovations and a deeper understanding of the expertise of primary health care nurses across Canada. Exceptional leadership is clearly evident in these descriptions of nurses’ work with the clients and families they serve, the interdisciplinary colleagues with whom they interact and the larger health-care systems and communities in which they practise. Whether the nurse is focused on addressing the needs of the elderly, First Nations communities or the oppressed, or on developing new systems to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and linkages across the health-care system, these stories highlight the power and leadership of nurses in primary health care. A powerful theme that jumps off the page, and one noted by Dr. John Fraser in the MOSH case [PDF, 317.1 KB], is that these nurses are visionary — they see the whole picture. They see ways to address clients’ needs from a holistic perspective as well as strategies to improve the primary health care system, and as they aptly move into action to achieve their vision, they masterfully apply the concepts identified in CNA’s primary health care model.

This series will inspire both practising nurses and nursing students with limited exposure to primary health care nursing.  It will also help readers appreciate the significant value of nursing contributions to primary health care in Canada. These stories make the often invisible work of nurses visible. What a fitting way to celebrate thirty-five years since the release of the Declaration of Alma Ata.