KINGSTON, ON, April 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Registered nurses are concerned about unsafe RN staffing levels and patient safety at Kingston General Hospital's intensive care unit and have taken the relatively rare step of calling for an Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) to review the situation.
The nurses - members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) - will provide evidence to the panel of three nursing experts on the negative impact that inadequate RN staffing levels is having on patient care. The hearing begins next Monday in Kingston.
"Our dedicated RNs have consistently provided written documentation to their employer outlining their inability to properly and safely care for critically ill patients," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.
Increased workloads with the lack of adequate staffing levels and a generally unhealthy work environment have also resulted in more than 50 RNs leaving the intensive care unit in the past 18 months.
"This employer has failed to adequately address the concerns of our members, and they remain concerned not only about the health of patients, but about meeting their professional standards because of insufficient RN staffing levels."
An IAC is a panel of three nursing experts that addresses the professional workload complaints of registered nurses. A hearing is called as a last resort - when nurses and management have attempted at length to settle workload issues internally - and it determines whether nurses are being assigned more work than is consistent with the provision of proper patient care.
"This hearing is about ensuring that patients in the intensive care unit at KGH receive the quality of nursing care they expect and deserve," says Haslam-Stroud. "Nursing is a highly regulated profession and RNs must be able to meet the standards set for them by their regulator. Anything less risks patient safety and the license of our nurses."
ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 14,000 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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Ontario Nurses' Association
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