Vernon nurses are fighting what they see as a potentially risky shift in health care.
Members of the B.C. Nurses Union will rally in front of Vernon Jubilee Hospital Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. to protest the care delivery model redesign which has been implemented on Vancouver Island.
“It replaces professional nurses with unlicensed care aides on surgical and medical floors,” said Ashley Bradwell, BCNU’s Vernon steward.
The union says the model has impacted 26 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in Nanaimo and there is the potential for 122 nurses to be replaced in Victoria.
“This scheme severely restricts bedside nursing, making it much harder for nurses to observe and monitor their patients’ condition,” said Margo Wilton, BCNU South Islands co-chairperson, in a release.
“Nurses are blowing the whistle on a bad care-model that dramatically raises the number of patients each nurse cares for, increasing the risk to patient safety.”
However, the Vancouver Island Health Authority has defended its decision.
“There will be no layoffs associated with these changes,” states a release from VIHA.
“There is a shortage of trained health care professionals in VIHA and across the country, and every trained, skilled and dedicated nursing professional is needed to provide quality care.”
It is not known if the Interior Health Authority has considered such a model.
While the Vernon nurses will show support for their Vancouver Island colleagues, there is a concern that the service model could spread in B.C.
“They are looking at it in the Fraser Health Authority,” said Bradwell.
Participants at the Nov. 29 rally will wear red shirts and black pants.
“The red is for the bleeding of the health care system and the black is mourning the loss of nursing jobs,” said Bradwell.
— with files from the Nanaimo Bulletin