An Open Letter To SUN Members Affected By The Humboldt Tragedy
April 11, 2018
Dear fellow registered nurses,
On Friday, the community of Humboldt, and our entire province and nation, experienced an unthinkable catastrophe that impacted and shattered so many lives. The horrific accident between the Humboldt Broncos Junior Hockey Team bus and a tractor-trailer tragically claimed 16 lives far too soon and left many others injured or in critical condition.
As the world around so many unraveled, it was all of you, the nurses, the doctors, the first responders and the rest of health care team on the frontlines, that had to put your grief and shock aside to care for the victims and their families.
I know that no one can truly understand what you went through and are continuing to go through today, or what lies ahead in terms of personal recovery. As a fellow registered nurse, I can however, empathize with the immense trauma we all feel at some point in our career. The sadness we are witness to, and the joy when we are able to save or change a life.
I am certain all of you will say “It’s my job. I am only doing what I was trained to do”, but I know the enormity of such a horrific tragedy can take a toll on the personal life and mental well-being of any of us, at any time.
Too often registered nurses suffer in silence or feel like they have nowhere to turn. It’s for this reason I want to personally reach out to say that you are not alone and that there is support out there if, or when, you may need it. Lean on your union and your sisters and brothers. SUN is and can be your rock during this difficult time.
This accident was unprecedented and heartbreaking. As registered nurses we have all faced, and will continue to face, situations that will deeply affect us mentally and emotionally.
I encourage you to seek the assistance you need, to personally grieve and heal, through your Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP), extended health benefits counseling services or through the crisis management, grief counseling, or social work teams available to you in your workplace. As registered nurses we train for a code orange on an annual basis, but no amount of training can prepare you for the impact such an event will have on your mental health. If you are struggling or experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTSD), please make note of your feelings and symptoms and reach out to your family physician, as soon as possible, for the help you need along this journey.
Please remember, it was, and is, your commitment to our amazing profession and to the people of this province that saved and changed lives at a most critical time. And it will be your colleagues that will carry the torch in ensuring those that survived and those that grieve an unimaginable loss can heal and move forward.
As president of our union, as a registered nurse and colleague, and as a sister in solidarity, I want to say thank you, and please remember seeking help is a sign of strength - not weakness. We can all do so much better together, supporting each other, than we can ever do alone. So please, reach out and ask for help if you need it.
Tracy Zambory, RN