SAULT STE. MARIE, ON, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses'
Association (ONA) has launched a new ad campaign in Sault Ste. Marie
that calls for an end to the proposed 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 at Sault Area Hospital - are threatening 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 Sault Area Hospital, which are coercing our nurses,
are doing a grave disservice to the community."
Sault Area Hospital is one of 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 Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Area 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; firstname.lastname@example.org
(416) 964-1979 ext. 2369; email@example.com
Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses