Overburdened nurses need serious attention from government

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) says nurses in the province are overworked and underappreciated; she adds the situation has been going on for long enough that government should have developed some solutions.

“In Happy Valley-Goose Bay and in Bonavista overworked registered nurses are forced to shoulder the burden of extra work due to permanent and temporary vacancies. Nurses are working 24-hour shifts in a reality of constant vacancies,” Michael said in the House of Assembly today.

“Will government act now to support initiatives that address fatigue, heavy workload and the increasing complexity of care to ease the burden on nurses and keep them working?”

Michael, who is also the NDP Health Critic, says the problems affecting nurses are systemic and province-wide, and that government has a responsibility to address the overall problem.

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“Reliance by government on the professionalism of registered nurses to provide care, despite terrible working conditions, seems to be government’s short-sighted plan. This situation cannot continue without patient care and the health of our nurses being affected,” she said. “I ask the minister of health and community services, when will she stop solving her problems on the backs of nurses and develop a more responsible long-term staffing plan?

“Nurses work in a constant crisis of understaffing. The cost of nurse turnover is estimated to be 20 to 30 percent more than an RN’s annual salary plus overtime costs which puts added pressure on health authority budgets,” she continued.

“I ask the Minister of Health and Community Services, what long term plan has she for addressing government’s failure to properly provide for appropriate nursing levels in the health care system?”

Associated Caucus Members: 

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