SAULT STE. MARIE, ON, April 8 /CNW/ - The Independent Assessment
Committee (IAC) hearing into the Renal Hemodialysis Unit at Sault Area Hospital (SAH) has provided
recommendations that confirm Registered Nurses (RNs) have been required
to perform more work than is consistent with proper patient care.
"Registered Nurses have a professional obligation to provide safe
patient care," said Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda
Haslam-Stroud, RN. "We are very pleased that the IAC has heard the
evidence and acknowledged ONA nurses' concerns - and issued 30
recommendations to improve their ability to provide safe, quality care
to hemodialysis patients."
The IAC, called by ONA late last year, is a panel of three experts who
conducted a hearing into the concerns of the renal RNs in February.
Those concerns included that the hospital has replaced RN positions
with Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and that patients in the unit
are suffering from complex conditions with unpredictable outcomes that
require the broad scope of practice, skills, competencies and
experience that RNs bring to the table.
After considering the evidence, the IAC concluded that the professional
practice supports and decision-making tools provided by the hospital
were insufficient to support the integration of RPNs into the unit. It also identified a lack of nursing
management leadership during the planning and implementation of the RN/RPN skill
mix, and stated there is no question that the RNs' sense of trust and
sense of "team" has been damaged and will need to be rebuilt.
The IAC's recommendations include:
The ratio of RPNs should not increase beyond 10 per cent of the total
nursing skill mix. "The Renal Unit is at the very lower limit of being
able to support an RN/RPN skill mix," it stated.
RPNs must not be assigned patients that are inappropriate for RPN care,
even if this means calling in an additional RN.
The renal program continues to have a full-time nurse educator position,
which the IAC considers pivotal. This is ironic, as the current nurse
educator has assumed another position since the IAC hearing and has not
"The IAC clearly stated that there was no vehicle for nurses to have a
voice in terms of operational or clinical decision-making, and we are
hoping these recommendations will give them that voice," concluded
Haslam-Stroud. "We look forward to working with the employer to resolve
these serious issues so hemodialysis patients can receive the care they
ONA is the union representing 55,000 front-line registered nurses 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:
| || || Ontario Nurses' Association |
| Ruth Featherstone || || (416) 964-8833, ext. 2267 |