NIPIGON, ON, March 4, 2014 /CNW/ -– Concerned that unsafe registered nurse staffing levels at Nipigon District Memorial Hospital have compromised patient safety and increased workloads to an unsafe level, Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) members have called in an Independent Assessment Committee to examine the issues.
From March 4 to 6, the panel of three nursing experts will hear evidence from Nipigon District Memorial Hospital registered nurses (RNs) about the negative impact on patient care caused by what ONA believes are unsafe, inadequate RN staffing levels. The RNs have consistently written documentation to hospital administrators outlining their inability to provide safe patient care for in-patients and emergency patients.
"Despite documenting ongoing issues caused by the understaffing of RNs, hospital management has refused to staff the hospital with the appropriate number of RNs," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "More mind-boggling is the fact that Nipigon is planning future nursing cuts."
Haslam-Stroud, RN notes that, "our registered nurses in this rural hospital are concerned that they're unable to meet their professional standards because RN staffing isn't sufficient to cover patient care needs, or the fluctuations in the acuity and complexity of patients here."
She suspects that balancing the budget has taken precedence at the expense of the care patients receive and RN workloads.
An Independent Assessment Committee – or IAC – addresses the professional workload complaints of registered nurses. A hearing is called only when the nurses and management have attempted at length to settle workload issues internally. When workload issues have not been addressed and resolved in a timely manner, an IAC hearing is a last-resort effort, to determine whether nurses are being assigned more work than is consistent with the provision of proper patient care. The panel will consider the evidence and make recommendations.
ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association
For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Sheree Bond, (416) 964-1979, ext. 2430, 416-986-8240, firstname.lastname@example.org; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-1979 ext.2369, email@example.com; Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses