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Local hospital workers receive surprise visits from RBC

National Nursing Week ran this year from May 6-12
RBC’s Patrick Wieland (far left) and Melanie Renon (far right) thank two healthcare workers at Groves Memorial Community Hospital. Groves was one of 10 local hospitals that received visits and tokens of appreciation for its healthcare workers as part of the RBC Foundation’s healthcare appreciation initiative.

Earlier this month, healthcare workers at Groves Memorial and several other local hospitals got a surprise and much needed break from the action.

As part of National Nursing Week (May 6-12), local RBC employees surprised nurses and other frontline healthcare workers with thank you notes and gift cards.

According to RBC Regional Vice President Melanie Renon, it was very important that these small gestures of thanks were delivered by hand, with a smile and conversation.

“We did have tables set up in the main reception areas, but for me, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to personally go around the hospital and visit those who weren’t able to step away from their stations to go get a card,” said Renon. “These selfless people are so committed and rarely seek the spotlight, and seemed so pleasantly surprised that someone was making the effort to seek them out and say thanks.”

Groves was one of 10 hospitals in Southwestern Ontario that received similar visits.

Sonya Anderson of RBC (far right) surprising healthcare workers at Groves Memorial Community Hospital with gift cards and notes of thanks during National Nursing Week, May 6-12

In total, Renon and her fellow RBC volunteers delivered 4,000 thank you cards to frontline healthcare workers at Hanover & District Hospital, Alexandra Marine & General Hospital in Goderich, Listowel Memorial Hospital, Brightshores Health System in Owen Sound, Palmerston and District Hospital, Walkerton & District Hospital, Woodstock Hospital, Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Fergus, Headwaters Health Care in Orangeville and Clinton Public Hospital.

The gifts and gestures of thanks are part of the RBC Foundation’s overall $6 million commitment this year for reskilling, upskilling, and improving the resiliency of nurses and healthcare workers at hospitals across the country.

The RBC Foundation has been supporting nursing education in Southwestern Ontario for over 15 years ($180,000 in donations across 23 hospitals in Southwestern Ontario this year alone). For Heather O’Brien, Registered Nurse and Clinical Resource Leader at Groves Memorial, the visits and personal gestures of thanks will be remembered for a long time.

“Our nurses, physicians, and staff were so excited to be recognized and given a card to get lunch or a coffee ‘on RBC’,” said O'Brien. “It has been a challenging time for healthcare workers and being thanked like this really brightened all of our days.”

The challenging time is reflected in a February 2024 Statistics Canada report that indicated Canada’s healthcare workforce is struggling to keep up with demand, resulting in decreased access to primary care for patients. 

“According to IPSOS, healthcare continues to be one of the top three concerns facing Canadians,” added Renon. “But perhaps lost in the shuffle are the many healthcare workers who may be feeling undervalued and burnt out — but still always answer the call. Healthcare workers are incredibly important to our local communities.”

Held in honour of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, National Nursing Week is designed to increase the awareness of the many contributions nursing makes to the wellbeing of Canadians. Nurses are Canada’s largest group of healthcare professionals, with 400,000 members. National Nursing Week ran this year from May 6-12.