As Canada celebrates Nursing Week 2019, Ontario Nurses’ Association members have received notices that 14 registered nurse positions are being cut from Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH).
ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN, notes that, “One year ago, I participated in a media conference at Queen’s Park warning that Ontario had 10,000 vacant RN positions that must be filled. Yet here we are a year later, learning that 14 full-time RN positions are being cut from OSMH’s operating room, emergency department, acute medical unit and out of their jobs as Clinical Performance Specialists.
“The reality is that if you are sick enough to be in hospital, you require the competencies, education and knowledge of an RN,” said McKenna. “Management will say that there will be no nurses out the door – that some of the positions were vacant, and that others will be filled by an inappropriate skills mix for patient care needs. Research shows that’s just not good enough.”
Research has shown that more RN care can reduce the risk of patients suffering complications and even death.
OSMH has informed ONA that the cuts are not due to budget constraints; ONA notes that some RNs are being replaced by management positions.
“This community will no doubt hear reassurances from the hospital that the quality of patient care will not be affected by these devastating cuts,” says McKenna. “This just follows the playbook used by hospital management in hopes that patients do not object to their care being compromised. ONA will fight the cuts and asks for the community’s support in doing so. This is a week to celebrate – not cut – nurses.”
ONA is the union representing more than 65,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.