Committee Says Surgical Nurses' Concerns Real: Calls for Lakeridge Health to increase RN staffing

OSHAWA, ON, June 28, 2011 /CNW/ - The Independent Assessment Committee called in to investigate concerns of Lakeridge Health Oshawa surgical unit RNs has made a series of 18 recommendations, including one that calls for an increase in registered nurses for this unit.

"The Independent Assessment Committee has thoroughly investigated the concerns of the RNs about the impact of heavy workloads on their ability to provide the level of care their patents require, and it has concluded that RN staffing needs to be appropriate," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "The patients in this unit are highly acute and have complex conditions that require the skills and knowledge of registered nurses."

Following five full years of failed attempts to work with Lakeridge management to address their concerns, registered nurses (RNs) in the 36-bed in-patient surgical unit took these concerns - about inadequate RN staffing levels and safe patient care - to an Independent Assessment Committee (IAC). The IAC is a three-person panel which heard the cases made by both the nurses and the hospital over a three-day hearing held in early April.

"These patients are mostly post-surgical, need pain management and other complex treatments and care," said Haslam-Stroud. "Nurses caring for them must be able to frequently monitor and reassess their patients' fluctuating conditions to ensure a positive health outcome."

Four of the 18 recommendations have a direct impact on front-line staff: increase the number RNs to ensure an appropriate patient assignment on all shifts; recognize the Charge Nurse role on each shift; upskill the skills mix of caregivers in the unit; return the educator role to provide and strengthen continuing clinical development of all members of staff.

"After many years, ONA members at Lakeridge Health feel their concerns have been confirmed and heard," said Haslam-Stroud. "ONA looks forward to working with this employer to implement these recommendations and ensure the quality of care for patients is up to our nurses' standards."

ONA is the union representing 57,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information:

For more information:         Ontario Nurses' Association
Sheree Bond (416) 964-1979, ext. 2430; cell (416) 986-8240
Melanie Levenson (416) 964-1979, ext. 2369


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