A Message from the NLN.ON President Donna Rothwell

Donna Rothwell

Nursing Leadership Matters During a COVID-19 Pandemic

As we continue to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, the global COVID-19 pandemic has challenged nursing leaders in ways we could have never imagined. In tandem with ongoing priorities of providing high quality, cost-effective and safe care, nursing leaders are also committed to creating health work environments that support excellence in patient and family centered care.

One of the privileges I have in my role, is the opportunity to work with many nursing leaders in a wide variety of practice settings throughout the province. What kind of nursing leadership is required during times like this? I have witnessed and learned that prompt thinking, flexibility, incident command structures, sense of calmness, confidence, visibility, clear communication, moral courage, caring and disciplined decision making are key to effective leadership.

Leadership matters! Besides the enormous degree of change, the challenges experienced by so many nursing leaders have included redesigning care and staffing models on the fly, developing educational courses on critical care nursing, and completely transforming hospitals and long term care facilities in nanoseconds compared to the usual planning models.

Leadership especially matters as we advocate for staff safety. The ongoing need to ensure our health care professionals have the appropriate PPE and staffing resources to provide safe care remains a basic value for nursing leaders. Nursing leaders guided emergency management, adapted infection prevention and control practices, prioritized supply chain practices, and directly engaged with patients and families while caring for the work-force through continuous on-site presence.

During the pandemic, my son was admitted to ICU and we were not able to visit him during his two and a half week hospitalization. Nurses became my son’s surrogate family and his companion while in hospital. With adaptability, courage, and unwavering advocacy for patients and families point of care leadership will be something many of us will never forget.

I want to welcome our new NLN.ON Board Members - Sue Bookey-Bassett, Kim Cook, Martha Harvey and Dawn Donaldson. These nursing leaders bring tremendous experience and expertise in nursing leadership and we are thrilled they have courageously taken on this role with NLN.ON.

We have been affirmed as a profession during the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife that we didn’t expect, glorified as frontline heroes and leaders. Our profession has been tested and we have led the way in pandemic patient care with compassionate and caring nursing leadership.

Like you, I have never been so proud to be a nurse!

My sincere thank you to all of you!

Donna Rothwell, RN, BScN, MN

NLN.ON President


NLN.ON Board of Directors: 2019-2020





Donna RothwellDonna Rothwell, RN, BScN, MN,
Senior Principal                          
Stantec Consulting Ltd.


womens headDonna Leybourne
President Elect

Intensive Care Charge Nurse 
Kingston General Hospital   

SaraSara Lankshear, RN, PhD
Faculty, Health, Wellness and Sciences

Georgain College


Sue Bookey Bassett 226x211Sue Bookey-Bassett
Director of Education & Research and Conference Chair

Assistant Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing
Ryerson University


Dawn Donaldson 226x211Dawn Donaldson
Board Member
Patient Care Manager
Mackenzie Health

Kim Cook 226x211Kim Cook

Vice President & Chief Nursing Executive
West Park Healthcare Centre


Martha Harvey 226x211Martha Harvey
Director, Operational Readiness

West Park Healthcare Centre


Contact info

Nursing Leadership Network of Ontario (NLN.ON)

c/o First Stage Enterprises Ltd.

7270 Woodbine Avenue, Suite 305

Markham, Ontario, Canada  L3R 4B9

Tel: 905 415 2220 ext.254

Fax: 905 513 1248



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