LONDON, ON, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA)
has launched a new ad campaign in London and St. Thomas that calls for
an end to the stigmatization of nurses who choose not to have a flu
vaccine. ONA is also calling for the provincial government to work
collaboratively to develop a province-wide, comprehensive and truly
effective policy to fight the spread of influenza.
ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, says that, "As registered nurses,
we know that science shows that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine
varies between just 40 and 60 per cent. Yet a handful of Ontario
hospitals - including London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph's
Health Care London and St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital - are trying
to coerce nurses into having a flu vaccine or be publicly stigmatized
if they choose not to. We dedicate our lives to caring for our
patients. Hospitals such as these, which are coercing our nurses, are
doing a grave disservice to the community."
These three London hospitals are among only a handful of health agencies
using these practices. ONA represents more than 500 Ontario health
agencies in the province.
Radio ads about the issue are airing in London and the other communities
using similar pressure tactics. Noting that it takes "more than a shot
in the arm" to fight the flu, the ad notes that publicly shaming nurses
won't keep patients safe from the flu and may provide a false sense of
security for the community.
ONA believes that if hospitals are serious about preventing influenza
from spreading, they must use evidence-based infection-control
measures, effective isolation policies and screening procedures,
adequate "surge capacity" protocols to ensure a safe number of nurses
are working, provide appropriate personal protective equipment when
needed, increase cleaning efforts, eliminate overcrowding, practice
hand hygiene and include immunization options as part of an overall
An audio file of the ad is available at http://www.ona.org/political_action/flu.html, as is a comprehensive influenza prevention and control plan that
promotes a culture of safety and other information.
"As registered nurses, we are there on the front lines to ensure our
patients receive the high-quality care they need," says Haslam-Stroud,
"These pressure tactics show a total lack of respect for the knowledge
and professionalism of London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph's
Health Care London and St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital nurses. ONA is
calling on the government to demand that these hospitals stop the
coercion and stigmatization. We call on the government to work with
nurses and other experts on a comprehensive, province-wide approach to
infection control that protects patients and respects nurses, because
our patients deserve no less."
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
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association
(416) 964-1979 ext.2430; cell: (416) 986-8240; email@example.com
(416) 964-1979 ext. 2369; firstname.lastname@example.org
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