‘Ottawa’ Two Citizen Reporters win Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Media Awards
The work of two Citizen reporters has been recognized with Registered Nurses Association of Ontario media awards.
Elizabeth Payne won in the “daily newspaper, best series” category for her stories on the development of Canada’s Ebola vaccine. Joanne Laucius won in the “exceptional reporting on an RN/nursing issue” category for her stories on an Ontario bill that recognized PTSD as an occupational illness for first responders but not for nurses.
Payne spent months tracing the development of the Ebola vaccine, called VSV-EBOV, from Winnipeg, where it was developed at the National Microbial Laboratories, to Guinea, West Africa, where it was tested in a groundbreaking clinical trial and proven successful. The vaccine was not available to prevent the deadly West African Ebola outbreak that killed more than 11,000 people. But it got to Guinea in time to save lives and is considered one of Canada’s greatest public health achievements. In Guinea, Payne spoke to many people who know it as Canada’s vaccine. She also interviewed numerous survivors for a rare look at the physical and psychological burdens they continue to face.
Laucius started her reporting by asking a simple question: If a nurse isn’t a first responder who faces traumatic experiences, then who is? Her work did an exemplary job of unpacking that question and explaining why Bill 163, Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act, left the province’s nursing community feeling de-valued. Laucius gave life to this policy-based story through Julie Prince, a nurse who was diagnosed with depression and elements of PTSD after spending years working in neonatal intensive units. Prince’s story helped illuminate for readers the darker, oft-not discussed side of nursing.
The awards will be presented in Toronto on April 28.