SAULT ST. MARIE, ON, Dec. 7 /CNW/ - The Independent Assessment Committee hearing into Sault Area Hospital's hemodialysis unit will be held February 8, 9 and 10. The review was called for by members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) who identified ongoing professional practice and workload concerns impacting patient care. The Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) will examine RN staffing levels and make recommendations.
"Registered nurses have a professional obligation to ensure that nursing practices are carried out according to the Standards of Practice set out by the College of Nurses of Ontario," notes ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "We are accountable for our nursing practice and can be subject to discipline by both the College and the employer should we not be able to meet these standards, and that's why ONA has called in an Independent Assessment Committee to look at patient care at Sault Area Hospital's hemodialysis unit."
An Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) is a panel of three experts who will conduct a hearing into the unit in question and make recommendations to resolve the issues. In the case of Sault Area Hospital (SAH), RNs in the hemodialysis unit say the hospital has been replacing RN positions with Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs), and that the patients in the unit are suffering from complex conditions with unpredictable outcomes that require the skills of RNs.
"ONA members have a Professional Responsibility clause that helps them to practice safely and provide quality patient care," notes Haslam-Stroud. "This process is designed to address concerns about patient and staff safety, patient acuity, fluctuating workloads and fluctuating staffing in a timely and effective manner.
"There is a vital role for RNs and RPNs to play in health care, but we must remember that the patients in the hemodialysis unit at Sault Area Hospital are too acute to be cared for by RPNs - they need the broad scope of practice, skills and experience that RNs bring to the table."
Hospitals across the province have been replacing RN positions with RPNs in a bid to balance their budgets. The RNs in the hemodialysis unit have a broader scope of knowledge and skill set; their critical thinking skills are based on a greater foundational knowledge which qualifies them to care for the most critically ill and complex patients, while RPNs are meant to care for stable patients with predictable outcomes.
RNs have concerns about their practice and workloads, and the effect on safe patient care. ONA's attempts to find solutions with SAH have repeatedly failed.
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.
For further information: For further information:
|Ontario Nurses' Association|
|Sheree Bond||(416) 964-8833, ext. 2430 cell: (416) 986-8240|
|Melanie Levenson||(416) 964-8833, ext. 2369|