Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ontario's nurses and patients deserve better


Nurse tending to patient in intensive care. Photo by Getty Images. Martin Barraud / Getty Images
Re: Forced to leave town for work, nurses return to jobs in Detroit, by Brian Cross, Oct. 18.
It is shameful that highly educated and skilled nurses such as Steve and Colleen Bacon are being forced to leave the province for full-time work in Detroit.
Their story is all-too-common these days. As the elected first vice-president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, I know that our invaluable registered nurses are being poached by other jurisdictions as RN cuts continue in Ontario.
New RN graduates are being left with large student debt and no full-time employment prospects in Ontario, and it’s only natural that they leave to find work environments with employers who value them and the quality patient care they provide.
Southwestern Ontario has seen a raft of RN cuts recently — Bluewater Health in Sarnia cut 45 full-time RN positions and 21 part-time RN positions and Windsor Regional Hospital has cut a total of 169 RN positions.
It’s shameful that inadequate hospital funding and short-sighted hospital decisions are trimming the front lines to balance the bottom line. I sincerely hope that every Ontario-educated RN will soon be able to use their skills for the benefit of their own community’s patients soon.
Both our nurses and our patients deserve no less.
VICKI McKENNA, RN, Ontario Nurses’ Association, Toronto