Nurses welcome recommendations to deal with workplace violence but say issue of physician dominance must be addressed

    TORONTO, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
(RNAO) is welcoming the 26 recommendations released today by the jury
examining the murder of RN Lori Dupont. But the association cautions that
until systemic hierarchies embedded in our health-care system are addressed,
physicians will continue to wield a disproportionate amount of power over
other health-care professionals.
    The jury's recommendations suggest changes that must be made by numerous
bodies, including the Ontario government, hospitals, the Ontario Medical
Association and at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor where Dupont and Dr.
Marc Daniel worked. On Nov. 12, 2005, Daniel, an anaesthesiologist, stabbed
Dupont, who had previously ended a romantic relationship with him. Daniel then
committed suicide.
    "We are pleased to see the jury recognized that staff and patient safety
must come before a physician's right to practice," says RNAO executive
director Doris Grinspun. But, Grinspun says that to prevent systemic abuse -
which can range from belittling and bullying colleagues to the tragic murder
of a health-care professional - the underlying power structures that exist in
hospitals must be addressed. "We are calling on the government to open the
Public Hospitals' Act and replace hospitals' Medical Advisory Committees,
which are governed by physicians, with inter-professional committees that
represent all health-care professionals," she says.
    Grinspun says RNAO will work with all partners, including the Ontario
Medical Association, to prevent future tragedies. She says that's necessary
given evidence presented at the inquest, where jurors heard about Daniel's
aggressive behaviour exhibited toward other staff at Hotel-Dieu, and staff
members' uncertainty about how to respond to these incidents.
    RNAO president Mary Ferguson-Pare says the tragedy points to the larger
need for all health-care organizations to implement zero-tolerance policies on
violence in the workplace. According to the International Council of Nurses,
nurses are three times more likely to experience violence than any other
    "We must ensure that what happened to Lori Dupont does not happen again,"
says Ferguson-Pare. "The jury's recommendations outlining a process employees
and supervisors should follow to deal with violence in the workplace is a step
in the right direction to prevent, identify and deal with instances of
violence and abuse in the workplace."
    Ferguson-Pare says RNAO's policy statement on violence against nurses in
the workplace lays the groundwork to prevent these tragedies by addressing the
social, workplace and individual factors that contribute to violence and
abuse, including that which comes from physicians.

    The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario.
Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in
nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care
system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

For further information:

For further information: Jill Scarrow, Communications Officer/Writer,
RNAO, Ph: (647) 408-5605 (cellular), Ph: (416) 599-1925, 1-800-268-7199 ext.
210 (office)

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