KINGSTON, ON, June 11, 2013 /CNW/ - The Independent Assessment Committee
(IAC) called in by the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) has made 56
recommendations to address the concerns of registered nurses about
staffing and workload in Kingston General's ICU.
Following the three-day hearing in April, the panel has made
recommendations in 12 areas that directly or indirectly impact nursing
workload, including staffing, retention, culture, morale, communication
"The IAC agrees with the Ontario Nurses' Association that the turnover
of staff in the ICU is much higher than desired," notes ONA President
Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "The panel has recommended that the hospital
should take a more proactive approach to staffing, especially as
additional ICU beds are opened. The panel identified that the
hospital's current proposed staffing plan is high risk and does not
allow for increased staffing to accommodate demands of patient acuity
Haslam-Stroud also says that, "Employing sufficient numbers of nurses in
the ICU is vital to safe patient care and a quality practice setting,
and the department must have an adequate number of nurses available to
ensure coverage for increased patient demands, and replacement
requirements at all times."
The need for improved trust and communication between the management and
staff was demonstrated to the panel throughout the hearing; it also
recognized low staff morale. The nursing experts determined that it is
essential that trust and communication between the parties be
re-established, to improve the quality of work life and the workplace
environment for all staff.
ONA members have consistently reported concerns about nurse staffing
levels in the ICU for the past 18 months and believed that KGH
officials were failing to adequately address their concerns related to
patient safety resulting from overly heavy workloads. RNs were also
concerned that new and novice RNs were being asked to care for
critically ill patients without adequate support.
Haslam-Stroud says that patients rely on safe, quality care in their
hospital ICU. Ensuring that patients receive that level of care should
be the goal of every hospital and every nurse in the unit. Achieving
consistent staffing, and improving retention strategies including
nursing workload, will lead to a quality practice environment. She
strongly urges Kingston General Hospital management to implement the
recommendations of this expert panel.
The report from this hearing is being shared with ONA leaders this week
as they attend ONA's Provincial Coordinators Meeting in Kingston.
ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line registered nurses, nurse
practitioners, registered practical nurses and allied health
professionals as well as 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
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association
Sheree Bond Cell: (416) 986-8240; firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanie Levenson (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369; email@example.com
Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses