SAULT STE. MARIE, ON, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - An Independent Assessment
Committee (IAC), called in by the registered nurses (RNs) at Sault Area
Hospital's new Emergency Department (ED), has supported their claims
that RN staffing levels are insufficient to meet the needs of the large
geographic area served by the hospital, and that patient care has been
The IAC, a panel of three independent nursing experts, made 35
recommendations addressing the areas of leadership and empowerment,
practice, staffing levels and workload, and corporate responsibilities.
The RNs had been providing the hospital administration written reports
outlining specific incidents where they were unable to properly and
safely care for ER patients, and called in the IAC when the hospital
failed to address their concerns. Conducting an investigation May 1-3,
2012, the IAC concluded in its report that the RNs at SAH's ED are
being required to perform more work than is consistent with safe and
proper patient care, and that additional staffing is needed.
The IAC specifically recommended the addition of 11.25 RN hours per day
in the form of an additional RN scheduled to work a 12-hour shift from
noon to midnight, and the addition of a Unit Aide position to provide
non-nursing duties 24/7 to "enable the nurses to focus on patient care
needs." Other recommendations from the IAC included:
All RNs practising in the ED must meet the standards of the National
Emergency Nurses Association as the minimally accepted competency level
for RNs in an ED setting.
A full time educator be assigned solely to the ED instead of sharing one
with the Intensive Care Unit.
Re-establish the ED mentorship program to deal with the coming influx of
novice and new grad RNs.
Discontinue assigning non-nursing tasks to the RNs as it is an
ineffective use of resources and may significantly slow down patient
"The findings substantiate our members' valid concerns about patient
safety. They have found it difficult to focus on their patients' needs
given the workload and tremendous demands of an extremely busy ER,"
said Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud,
RN. "Implementing the IAC's 35 recommendations will have a positive
impact on the quality of patient care."
ONA is the union representing 59,000 RNs and allied health professionals
and more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in
Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the
community, industry and clinics.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association
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