National Nursing Week, taking place from May 9 to 15, is a time to recognize all nurses for the quality of care they provide to patients. At REACH Niagara, four Nurse Practitioners and two Registered Nurses work with care teams to improve the well-being of the homeless and marginalized across the Niagara region. 

“Our nurses play an integral role in treating patients that are struggling with homelessness,” says David van Velzen, REACH Niagara Executive Director. “They travel to where the need exists, providing care in shelters across Niagara and on our Mobile Health Clinic.”

The theme this year is #WeAnswerTheCall and was developed by the Canadian Nurses Association to showcase the many roles that nurses play in a patient’s healthcare journey.

“So many people in our world do not have access to even basic healthcare. This is an unacceptable global reality and also an unacceptable local reality. Disadvantaged populations experiencing poverty, lack of stable housing, lack of transportation, discrimination, and non-existent or unreasonably long waits for needed health services, need to be better and more equitably served,” says Mark Wakefield, Nurse Practitioner, REACH Niagara and Bridges Community Health Centre. “The healthcare outreach initiatives that are occurring in the Niagara Region are a fantastic model to reduce such barriers for disadvantaged populations. As a nurse practitioner providing primary care services on the REACH Mobile Health Clinic outreach van, I have seen firsthand the positive impact pro-active health outreach can make for both individuals and communities.”

Join us in thanking our nurses this week for their countless contributions!


Supporting REACH Niagara

If you are a healthcare provider wanting to make a difference in your community by working with REACH, please contact

If you are a community member, you can make an impact in a number of ways:

About National Nursing Week

The week draws attention to nurses, increasing the awareness of the public, policy-makers and governments of the many contributions of nursing to the well-being of Canadians.

In 1971, ICN designated May 12, the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, as International Nurses Day. In 1985, CNA members passed a resolution to begin negotiations with the federal government to have the week containing May 12 proclaimed as National Nurses Week annually. Soon after, the federal minister of health proclaimed the second week of May as National Nurses Week. In 1993, the name was changed to National Nursing Week to emphasize the profession’s accomplishments as a discipline.


About REACH Niagara 

REACH Niagara works with and operates primary care medical clinics staffed by healthcare professionals. They primarily serve people who do not have a regular family doctor, or who cannot see their doctor, with a goal to put healthcare within REACH for the homeless and marginalized in Niagara. They connect people with local family practices or Community Health Centres, mental health services, required specialist services, foot care, wound care and dental assessments. Their initial “Out REACH” began with the establishment of 2 clinics in St. Catharines shelters with regular schedule times for patient drop-ins. REACH represents a new and growing collaborative between primary care, key stakeholders across the health and social care sectors, people with lived experience, and several academic institutions, including McMaster University, Brock University, University of Waterloo & Niagara College.

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