Independent Nursing Panel Recommends Increasing RN Care Needed at Nipigon District Memorial Hospital

NIPIGON, ON, May 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Residents of Nipigon will be pleased to hear that an independent panel of nursing experts has recommended that more registered nursing (RN) hours be added to care for patients in the acute care unit, emergency department and chronic unit at Nipigon District Memorial Hospital, and that an RN be added to act as a transport nurse.

The recommendations were made following a three-day Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) hearing called by members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) in order to resolve their concerns about the safety and quality of patient care. The IAC made 25 recommendations in five areas regarding issues that directly or indirectly impact the workload of RNs.

"Our dedicated registered nurses working at Nipigon District Memorial Hospital have persistently raised concerns about workload issues that impact their patients," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "It should be reassuring for this community to know that the expert panel found merit in their concerns and made recommendations that – if acted on by hospital management – will improve the safety and quality of the care they receive."

An IAC panel is called in when multiple attempts to resolve professional nursing practice issues are unsuccessful. RNs at the hospital were concerned that the number of patients being assigned to RNs were resulting in an inability to provide proper patient care.

The panel found that there was an insufficient complement of RNs working in Nipigon's ER, chronic care and acute care units to provide proper patient care. It recommended that RN staffing be increased in the ER on weekends, not eliminate a current full-time RN position, develop a nursing human resources plan to build nursing capacity, better monitor the number and type of patient transfers and type of required staff escort, ease some of the non-nursing duties being performed by nurses, and act to address feelings of low morale and burnout among RNs.

The hospital must not reduce the hours of RN coverage as it has proposed to do.

"ONA is looking forward to working closely with Nipigon hospital management to implement these recommendations quickly," said Haslam-Stroud. "Our nurses want the best, safest care for their patients and are pleased to be able to work collaboratively with this employer to achieve just that."

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: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-1979 ext.2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, shereeb@ona.org; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-1979 ext. 2369, melaniel@ona.org; Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

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