ORILLIA, ON, April 15, 2013 /CNW/ - The National Association of PeriAnesthesia Nurses of Canada (NAPAN©) has added its voice to that of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) in calling on Soldiers' Memorial Hospital to reinstate registered nurses in the Surgical Pre-admission Clinic. This is the unit where patients are prepared for surgery and assessed for possible surgical and anesthetic risks.
ONA members, long contending that Soldiers' Memorial was improperly bringing registered practical nurses (RPNs) in to work in its Pre-Admission Clinic and Day Surgery Unit, documented their concerns about patient safety, workloads and fluctuating staffing levels in these units where patients require the education, skill level and knowledge of RNs.
Following the failure of Soldiers' Memorial to sufficiently address RN concerns, ONA took the rare step of calling for Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) hearing, an external panel of three nursing experts who conducted a three-day hearing to investigate the RNs' concerns. The hearing was held February 5 to 7, and the IAC has subsequently issued an unprecedented 70 recommendations relating to patient safety, staffing model of care and practice supports including hospital policies and procedures.
"Clearly there are serious issues in these units," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "The College of Nurses of Ontario - the regulatory body - is very clear around its guidelines for RNs/RPNs, and leaving these RPNs to practice autonomously in the Pre-Admission Clinic, without RN resources, is dangerous for patients." She notes that the RNs have identified errors and omissions in patient care that have resulted in delayed and cancelled surgeries and contravention of regulatory practice guidelines.
"The fact that another expert national professional nursing body has now added its voice to ONA's in calling it "unreasonable" to consider RPNs for a role in the pre-admission clinic adds weight to our concerns," says Haslam-Stroud. NAPAN© says there's a wealth of qualitative and quantitative evidence supporting RNs and not RPNs in pre-admission clinics."
A letter from NAPAN© to the panel that heard evidence in the Orillia case said it found nothing in a review of the medical literature to support the use of RPNs in pre-admission clinics. Instead, it found increases in surgical cancellations, missed information and increased hospital admissions of patients following surgery. The hard-working nurses at Orillia are waiting for improvements in the staffing model so that patients receive the care they need and deserve.
ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line RNs, RPNs 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
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association
Melanie Levenson (416) 964-1979, ext. 2369
Ruth Featherstone (416) 964-8833, ext. 2267
Visit us at: www.ona.org; www.Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; www.Twitter.com/OntarioNurses