National Nursing Week is May 10 to 16, 2021. To commemorate the week, the public is asked to share their photos and stories online using #CNA2021, #WeAnswerTheCall, #IKnowANurse, and #NationalNursingWeek. (Canadian Nursing Association)

National Nursing Week is May 10 to 16, 2021. To commemorate the week, the public is asked to share their photos and stories online using #CNA2021, #WeAnswerTheCall, #IKnowANurse, and #NationalNursingWeek. (Canadian Nursing Association)

‘We Answer the Call:’ Nurses vital to operation of 8-1-1 health hotline

National Nursing Week is May 10 to 16

To recognize the professionals behind the province’s 8-1-1 hotline, this year’s theme for National Nursing Week is appropriately #WeAnswerTheCall.

The Canadian Nursing Association said they selected this year’s theme to highlight the many roles nurses play in a patient’s health-care journey.

Nonavee MacDonald, a Fraser Health nurse who provides health information on the 8-1-1 phone line, says the pandemic has resulted in a spike in calls fueled in part by the provincial government and media advertising the resource. 

“We’ve always had a steady stream of calls that come into us, but even more so now,” she said.

Routine visits to the family-physician and check-ups with healthcare providers became daunting tasks as COVID-19 took hold in communities – many fearing to venture out of their home.

But thankfully nurses were there to “answer the call.”

“We’re there to help to support in the decision making process,” MacDonald explained. “There is a lot of hesitancy to go to emergency rooms and I think it’s great how our system has adapted.”

Operated by HealthLink BC, an arm of the Ministry of Health, the 8-1-1 hotline is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line available to residents across the province, including right here in the community.

A nurse helps work through a caller’s symptoms, MacDonald noted, providing education on how they can be managed and whether they need to seek in-person care.

“This is great service,” she said, noting people are encouraged to call back should they need.

Although the service was available pre-pandemic, the need for the resource and trained professionals on the other end of the telephone, was compounded by the COVID-19 health emergency.

In the early stages of the pandemic, the provincial government asked those who developed symptoms of COVID-19 to contact a nurse at 8-1-1 and arrange to get tested. Now booking appointments has transitioned to an online system.

But the phone line is a resource that extends far beyond questions about COVID-19.

By contacting 8-1-1, a member of the public can connect to a registered nurse who can assist with non-emergency health concerns, discuss symptoms and procedures, and recommend whether an individual should see a healthcare provider in-person.

“At any time of the day or night, every day of the year, you can call 8-1-1 to ask a registered nurse your health questions,” the province advertises.

But MacDonald notes the service doesn’t only connect the public to a nurse, rather it also provides access to dietitians, exercise professionals and pharmacists.

To celebrate National Nursing Week from May 10-16, the British Columbia Nurses’ Union said, the province has arranged for a week of virtual sessions including “inspiring presentations that focus on resilience and self care, as well as interactive fitness classes.”

To register, members of the union can visit

To commemorate the week, the public is encouraged to share photos and stories online using #WeAnswerTheCall and #IKnowANurse.

Have a story tip? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Langleymaple ridgeMinistry of HealthnursePitt Meadows

Just Posted

Community residents, businesses, and youth are all encouraged to complete economic development surveys. (The News files)
City of Maple Ridge asks for community input on economic development

Three surveys available online will help shape strategy for years to come

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Schools in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows exposed to COVID-19

Davie Jones and Hammond elementary schools have confirmed cases

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock near Webster’s Corners

Vanessa Barrett is competing to be the face of fitness for a health and bodybuilding magazine. (Vanessa Barrett/Special to the Maple Ridge News)
Ridge fitness champ aims to become face of magazine

Vanessa Barrett wants to add ‘Ms Fitness’ to her titles of entrepreneur and mom

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read