MISSISSAUGA, ON, Oct. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - As the number of nurses employed on a full-time basis remains alarmingly low in Ontario, the health care system should prepare itself for increased challenges associated with infection control, workplace stress, overall quality of patient care and overwhelmed nurses who feel as if they have no alternative but to leave the profession altogether.
The Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO) issued this warning in the wake of the release of the College of Nurses of Ontario's Membership Statistics Highlights Report 2014, which provides detailed practice and employment information about Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in Ontario.
"In 2014, the proportion of RPNs working full time in Ontario dropped for the second consecutive year to just 55.9 per cent," said Dianne Martin, Executive Director of RPNAO. "The numbers are even more troubling for new graduate RPNs, who report an overall full-time employment rate of just 26.1 per cent at their first year of graduation renewal. We know from experience that as full-time employment rates drop, the number of nurses forced to work multiple part-time jobs increases. Not only does this translate into significant challenges around infection control, with nurses moving from facility to facility, but also into issues around workplace stress and overall quality of life, all of which can have profound impacts on patient care."
The numbers of RNs and NPs employed on a full-time basis are also low at 66.5 per cent and 63.9 per cent respectively.
"Having many thousands of nurses working part-time jobs in multiple health care facilities is not optimal from any perspective and poses potential threats to infection control, patient care and quality of life for nurses," said Martin. "We continue to urge the health care sector and the provincial government to work together to help us address this lingering, deteriorating problem by implementing mechanisms that will allow more nurses to use their knowledge and skills in full-time employment settings."
About the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario
Founded in 1958, RPNAO is the voice of registered practical nursing in Ontario. There are approximately 35,000 RPNs working in Ontario, playing a vital role in the province's health care system. For more information about RPNAO, its mandate and how RPNs contribute to Ontario's health care system, please visit rpnao.org.
SOURCE: Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario
For further information: Dianne Martin, Executive Director, 905-602-4664