Frustration over changes to nursing

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The following is an open letter to Premier Brad Wall, Minister of Health Dustin Duncan, the Board of Directors for the Cypress Health Region, and the Senior Administrative Staff of the Cypress Health Region.

 

It is with utter frustration and determination that I write to you now. I have been practicing nursing for 30 years in this wonderful province, and I see the decline of health care as we have known it coming to a head. I believe that change encourages production, promotes creative thinking and hopefully concludes with progress if done with wise and thoughtful direction, but our health district, although involved in change constantly, seems to be deteriorating daily. I am specifically speaking about our patient/client care of which should be our pinnacle focus.

Through my years of work, I have watched the management and administrative teams increase in size trifold, while our direct patient care workers remain much the same number. We have been bombarded with changes: new facilities, new routines, new policies and procedures - all of which are necessary for our best care to take place. What concerns me is the ongoing administrative directives such as Lean Methodology and Kaizen Basics Training, Hoshin Kanri Strategy Planning, Patient and Family Centered Card, Failure Mode Effects Analysis and many other impressive names with acronyms to match that have me upset. Our staff morale is at an all-time low.

Our patient/clients and community expect quality nursing and health care each and every day. I believe they are entitled to nursing staff that are trained, experienced and competent in the care they are delivering that day. I believe each nurse has specific strengths and abilities which should be encouraged and utilized. I believe each and every area of the health district should be encouraged and utilized. I believe each and every area of the health district is its own specialty area, with its own needs and skills and that nurses should be encouraged to work and perform their duties in the areas they are most competent and comfortable. I believe there are many members involved in our team - and each needs to hold respect and value for the other, regardless of title or designation. I believe staffing needs to be appropriate for safest, quality patient/client workload. I believe our provincial nursing schools need to revamp their programs to include more direct patient care practice and less administrative studies. I believe "float nursing" emphasizes filling of numbers, not promoting excellence of care. I believe head nurses had great value in directing the daily function and flow of a ward and need to be returned to the mix. I believe all these strategies and changes are more representative of government financial directives and not a true goal of better care. I believe Mr. Tommy Douglas would be greatly saddened and ashamed by this turn of culture towards healthcare.

I also believe we have the capability to get back on track. Our public monies need to be thoughtfully redirected to the bedside. Enough of meetings, more meetings on strategies, and still more meetings on projection of strategies. I have never seen so many meetings take place with so little accomplished.

Let's be better - not just on paper in numbers - but truly better, for ourselves, our patients and our community.

RN Donna Bitz, OR/PACU Cypress Regional Hospital, Swift Current

Geographic location: Swift Current

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  • Student Nurse
    February 28, 2013 - 16:14

    Well said Donna! I am currently a nursing student (RN) who is taking my education out of province. I will be returning to the Cypress Health Region upon graduation. I too see this as an issue even in the Health region I am placed in for my clinical internship. I am seeing seriously important jobs being cut (Lactation consultant) that are essential to the "family centered care" direction at this health region. For the amount of responsibility that comes with the patient and thier needs, there is a serious lack of nurses which leads to an increase of errors, lack of time for patient teaching and job exhaustion. The focus needs to return to the patients and the quality of care. This is meant for all parts of health care, their needs to be an evaluation placed on mental health, addictions- this is to an area that has serious lack of in the province of Sask. So overall, good job Donna! It wont be long and I will be along side you fighting for the rights of our patients! My heart is in this profession for all the right reasons- Look out Mr. Premier and Health minister because I too love to voice my concerns!

  • Hensel
    February 02, 2013 - 14:16

    Awaiting my more in depth comment to be posted, but take home point, is the biggest legacy so far from the Sask Party for health care is its massive 40% + raise for RN's announced soon after taking office, at the same time it was hardballing teachers and pharmacists with "final offers" of 1 % a year! "'I agree that the Sask Party has thrown health care off track in Saskatchewan, despite hyped programs like the "surgical initiative" the real legacy of the Sask Party is the 40% raise that RN's got from previous health minister Don McMorris, at an annual (!) cost of $300 million extra in tax dollars. Of course, this helped the McMorris family directly, as his wife is an RN in Regina. And now McMorris is concerned about a couple million dollars a year to keep STC providing rural bus service?............................................. 1 in 8 RN's does no direct patient care, but works solely in an admin role. RN's make $100,000 for 40 hours a week with minimal seniority, often the top RN's (with double OT) in the province are making $200,000 for 60 hour work weeks. This is not sustainable!............................................ That the health minister was able to give his wife a nearly 40% raise, at a cost to taxpayers of $300,000,000 annually, and a benefit to his house of $30,000 or so (average RN's raise) seems to smack of conflict of interest. McMorris may no longer be the health minister, but that didn't stop him from giving RN's an additional 4% on his way out, at a cost of at least another $30,000,000 annually. Over 40% in raises, over a 6 year term? McMorris, and the Sask Party were verygenerous to RN's in Saskatchewan, too bad it costS taxpayers north of $330,000,000 ongoing every year!?

  • Hensel
    February 02, 2013 - 13:23

    I agree that the Sask Party has thrown health care off track in Saskatchewan, despite hyped programs like the "surgical initiative" the real legacy of the Sask Party is the 40% raise that RN's got from previous health minister Don McMorris, at an annual (!) cost of $300 million extra in tax dollars. Of course, this helped the McMorris family directly, as his wife is an RN in Regina. And now McMorris is concerned about a couple million dollars a year to keep STC providing rural bus service?............................................. 1 in 8 RN's does no direct patient care, but works solely in an admin role. RN's make $100,000 for 40 hours a week with minimal seniority, often the top RN's (with double OT) in the province are making $200,000 for 60 hour work weeks. This is not sustainable!............................................ That the health minister was able to give his wife a nearly 40% raise, at a cost to taxpayers of $300,000,000 annually, and a benefit to his house of $30,000 or so (average RN's raise) seems to smack of conflict of interest. McMorris may no longer be the health minister, but that didn't stop him from giving RN's an additional 4% on his way out, at a cost of at least another $30,000,000 annually. Over 40% in raises, over a 6 year term? McMorris, and the Sask Party were verygenerous to RN's in Saskatchewan, too bad it costS taxpayers north of $330,000,000 ongoing every year!