Attendees of the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses Union (NLNU) biennial convention gathered for a noon-hour rally to protest Central Health Authority's plan to reduce registered nursing positions.
Close to 200 people attended the rally, loudly chanting, "Registered nurses equals safe patient care."
NLNU president Debbie Forward said the cuts will ultimately impact patient care in the region, while Liberal health critic Andrew Parsons said the move will not aid the cause to attract physicians.
NDP leader Lorraine Michael was blunt in assessing the situation, calling the decision to reduce registered nursing positions "bullshit."
For more on this story, read Friday's edition of The Telegram.
Nurses began a protest in front of Confederation Building in St. John’s at noon today saying they are concerned about patient care and staffing levels in light of proposed reductions to registered nurse positions in several Central Health facilities.
A news released notes a new study released by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions shows that excessive nursing workload is negatively affecting patient outcomes. The report, Nursing Workload and Patient Care: Understanding the value of nurses, the effectives of excessive workload and how nurse-patient ratios and dynamic staffing models can help, was presented to provincial health ministers in September.
NLNU President Debbie Forward said nurses want to provide the best possible care for their patients, but safe staffing levels are needed to do this.
“We have the research,” said Forward. “We know that safe staffing improves patient safety and quality of care. Yet, we continue to hear about registered nurses positions being replaced or eliminated from the system. It’s happening right across the board in Central Health.”
The union says inadequate registered nurse staffing has been proven to be associated with increases in mortality rates, hospital-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infections, sepsis, hospital-acquired infections, pressure ulcers, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, shock and cardiac arrest, medication errors, falls, failure to rescue and longer than expected length of hospital stay.
Following the rally at Confederation Building, registered nurses are expected to walk the picket line at the St. John’s International Airport in a show of solidarity for striking Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) local 90961 workers.