ESPANOLA, ON, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association
(ONA) has launched a new ad campaign in Espanola 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 health care
employers - including Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre -
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 and hospitals such as Espanola Regional Hospital and
Health Centre, which are coercing our nurses, are doing a grave
disservice to the community."
Espanola's hospital and family health team are among just 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 Espanola 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 health care employers 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 plan.
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 Espanola nurses. ONA is calling on the
government to demand that these health care employers 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; firstname.lastname@example.org
(416) 964-1979 ext. 2369; email@example.com
Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses