“Rural health providers are powerful assets in their communities. Not only do their health-care skills and practices enhance the quality of rural life, but these professionals also contribute to rural life on a more personal level. They have special relationships with their patients and community; they not only provide care, but are also family, friends, neighbours, and volunteers, and often teach and mentor future health-care providers within their communities.” (https://rhpap.ca/about/alberta-rural-health-week/) Thanks to rural doctors, nurses and support staff, rural Albertans can access quality health care near their homes.

May 25-29, 2020 is Alberta Rural Health Week when we have the opportunity to recognize the contributions of the rural Alberta health-care providers and community volunteers who go above and beyond to support health care and health-care providers in their communities.

While we continue to practice safe social distancing, we have seen a phenomenal increase in appreciation for everyone in our health care sector. Albertans are showing their appreciation of medical staff by sewing scrub hats, scrub bags, and masks that they are sharing with our health care workers as well as with the public. We have seen fire departments and police services surprise medical staff with hospital drive-bys, flashing lights and honking horns to show their gratitude. We have observed young children and their parents making window signs showing how thankful they are to the frontline workers.

Rural health care is always an essential service, and it is always dependent upon the hard-working people who staff our hospitals, long-term care facilities and clinics. COVID-19 has given us a powerful reminder how vital their work is in our rural communities. On behalf of Battle River Power Coop, we want to extend our appreciation to all the Alberta Rural Health Care workers for the incredible job they have done to help get us through this pandemic. Thank you.