Dr. Doris Grinspun

Wearing your RNAO pin with pride

Over the years, I have heard many funny anecdotes from members about the curious places they have found their RNAO pin. In the fridge. In the garden. Inside a potted plant. At the bottom of a purse used previously. And, of course, in the washing machine pinned to scrubs.  

It will likely not come as a surprise that I wear my RNAO pin every single day. It’s the simplest – and most explicit – way we can show our pride as a nursing professional. It’s also a sign of our commitment to RNAO’s strong (and growing) nursing movement and collective identity, which is supported by the work of our 51,650+ members.

When you joined RNAO, you received a pin with your designation as RN, NP or NS (for nursing student). A French equivalent is available for RN (IA) and NS (ESI). I urge you to wear this pin proudly. Last fall, we launched a social media campaign – #RNAOProud – featuring photos of members wearing their pins. These images represent a large movement of nurses uniting to achieve the goal of professional recognition. Everyone will see you are an RN, NP or NS who directly delivers evidence-informed and person-centred care and/or inspires others to do the same. The campaign is ongoing and we encourage you to wear your pin proudly and also share an image to add to our already impressive collection.

“But I don’t really like wearing pins or brooches – it’s not my thing,” you might be thinking. Or, “It’s just one more thing to remember in a busy life – I’d rather just wear it to RNAO events.” You may even wonder what would happen if you lost your pin.

The answer to the last question is the simplest: If you have lost your pin or need additional ones, contact the RNAO membership team and they will happily send you one (or more) right away. For those who are holding back for other reasons, let me offer three good reasons to reconsider.

To show your nursing pride 
Pride in nursing has never been more important given the ups and downs experienced by our profession. This small step celebrates the long journey of education, experience and achievements that led to your professional designation. Your pin is a powerful symbol and reminder of your commitment (or intrinsic motivation in social movement action terms) to nursing, even on a challenging day.  

To remind colleagues and clients you are in the most-trusted role in the health system 
When I began my nursing practice, there was a tradition for all female nurses in clinical settings to wear a white cap. It symbolized nurses’ status as educated professionals, with markers (such as stripes) to denote role as an RN, RPN, etc. For our clients, it signaled they were in the hands of a trusted and knowledgeable professional. Like the cap, the RNAO pin can only be worn by nurses (or future nurses). Its design is similar to other professional designation/association pins or badges, and people understand it as a symbol of authority and knowledge. For those who know RNAO, your pin signals that you are part of the broader collective seeking systemic change for a healthier tomorrow. And for those who don’t know RNAO, it’s the perfect opportunity to start a conversation about our professional association.

To help lead change through voice and presence 
The adage “There is strength in numbers” is especially true when it comes to pursuing social and systemic change. Membership in RNAO does not only bring you individual benefits – it is a powerful show of solidarity with the broader nursing movement. RNAO is a transformational force in our province and beyond. It leads the charge for nursing by providing a strong and unified voice on health public policy issues. We share research findings and evidence to steer our municipal, provincial and federal governments in a healthier direction. This has led to significant gains for nurses and nursing, including RN prescribing (read more in our feature about the scope change) and recently-announced funding for community care investments in Ontario. And RNAO leads the most robust and expansive implementation program for evidence-based practice for nurses at home and globally, through its Best Practice Guideline (BPG) and Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) social movement of science.

We know that evidence alone does not lead to system-level changes. And we know that meaningful change does not happen in isolation. Public visibility of nurses is crucial. And wearing your pin is a simple way to demonstrate you are part of this movement.

To those members who sport a nursing pin daily with pride: a massive thank you. To those who don’t (yet) wear the pin, I urge you to join the rest of us in being #RNAOproud.

Winter 2024
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