Journalists who shed light on the nursing shortage, opioid crisis, and racism on the front lines were among those honoured by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) in its annual Media Awards.
Among the winning entries, three of the stories shared the challenges nurses are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic, including understaffing, overwhelming workloads, and mental health challenges. Other winning entries examined the shortcomings of Ontario’s long-term care system, the rising number of opioid overdoses across the country during the pandemic, and stories from Black nurses who have endured racism during their career.
“Journalists play an important role in informing the public about the successes in our health system and the failures that we must address,” said RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth. “We applaud them for bringing us compelling stories to ensure nurses, other health providers and the public have a voice.”
This year, RNAO handed out seven Media Awards to journalists who wrote for or produced stories in print, radio, and television.
“As an organization that speaks out for nurses and healthy public policy, RNAO is proud to honour this year’s winners,” said RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun. “Their impressive work highlights the nursing and health issues that face our province, including a nursing crisis worsened by the pandemic, ongoing understaffing and inadequate skill mix in long-term care, and the racial harassment and mistreatment of Black nurses.”
Entries were judged by a panel of nurses and journalists. Awards were handed out at RNAO’s virtual 97th Annual General Meeting last Friday, June 10.
Voice contributor Helen Tran won her award—Community Newspaper, Best News Coverage—for her June 2021 feature article, “Don’t call me a hero,” which described the challenges facing local Registered Nurse Annie Mazmanian.
“It was an outstanding piece and well deserving of recognition,” said Voice Publisher Dave Burket. “Helen was in excellent company, too.”
The other six winners were all from far larger media outlets, namely the Toronto Star, Toronto.com, Global News, CBC Radio, and Global News Toronto.
Founded in 1925, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario.