Expert Nursing Panel Says RN Staffing Resources "Inadequate" at Humber River Hospital Endoscopy Units: Panel makes 32 recommendations to improve patient care

Registered nurses, members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), hold signs calling for more RNs to be hired in this April 8 photo at the Humber River Hospital Finch Street site in Toronto (Photo Credit: Gregory Bennett) (CNW Group/Ontario Nurses' Association)

TORONTO, Aug. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - An independent panel of nursing experts has concluded that the registered nurse (RN) staffing levels at Humber River Hospital's two endoscopy units are inadequate and has made 32 recommendations to improve patient care.

The panel examined the concerns of RNs, members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) working at the hospital, who believe that RN staffing levels, fragmentation of patient care, improper staff support and an incorrect skill mix are putting their patients at risk.

ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, notes that the panel's first recommendation is that Humber hire one additional full-time RN at each site.

"In addition, the expert panel says that two RNs must be scheduled to work in the procedure room at the Church site when no anesthetist is present or available to run the second room," notes Haslam-Stroud. This ensures that patients are continuously monitored. The hospital also needs a dedicated aide role for the units so that RNs are no longer expected to clean rooms, stretchers and equipment between patients, as they currently are."

The Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) is a panel of nursing experts who heard from RNs concerned with risks to patient care, from hospital management, RPNs and physicians. The panel has made significant recommendations in nine areas: RN staffing, roles and responsibilities including clarity regarding the role of RPNs, processes including unit practices, calling in of staff and job descriptions, communication, collaborative working relationships, workplace conflict and violence resolution, leadership, education and system change management.

The panel made recommendations regarding the need to change the model of care in Humber's endoscopy unit. The panel report stated that, "Patient safety risks are even higher with the new practice model and introduction of the RPN role in the procedure room." The experts also recommended that the endoscopy unit must ensure that transfer of care of a patient from the procedure room to the recovery room is from either an anesthetist to an RN or an RN to an RN.

"Clearly, the recommendations show the need for many improvements to the endoscopy units at Humber River Hospital," says Haslam-Stroud. "The panel quoted evidence that having RNs take on non-nursing tasks caused an increase in workload, with the potential of nurses being unable to focus on nursing activities, with subsequent negative outcomes for the patient and a decrease in quality nursing care. ONA is certainly looking to management to implement the recommendations as quickly as possible to improve patient care."

ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.                               

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

Image with caption: "Registered nurses, members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), hold signs calling for more RNs to be hired in this April 8 photo at the Humber River Hospital Finch Street site in Toronto (Photo Credit: Gregory Bennett) (CNW Group/Ontario Nurses' Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140827_C3673_PHOTO_EN_5159.jpg

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, shereeb@ona.org; Ken Marciniec, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2306; kenm@ona.org; Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses