Hospital-based registered practical nurses in Ontario have worked diligently on the pandemic front lines for nearly 16 months. Behind their stoic façade there are tens of thousands individual stories of inner turmoil, trauma, and resilience.
On the cusp of Nursing Week (May 10-17) CUPE RPNs and SEIU Healthcare will speak with media today at 1 p.m. on ZOOM about their personal challenges and experiences working throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Their unsettling first-person accounts of the impacts on their lives and wellbeing working in hospitals through the pandemic are supported by a CUPE poll of 2650 RPNs from across Ontario and an SEIU survey of 600 of their RPN members. It is the first time such a large number of hospital-based RPNs have been probed about their mental health, morale, workload and how they feel about nursing following grueling months of pandemic work.
The poll and survey findings are set to be released at Sunday’s media conference. In addition to the provincial results, polling data specific to 800 RPNs working at hospitals in Toronto, Oshawa, Markham, Mississauga/Peel and Peterborough/Lindsay, will also be a focus.
Ontario funding for hospital care is among the lowest in Canada. Today across the province, hospitals are critically short of nurses. The poll and survey results are telling of an increasingly educated RPN workforce that even pre-COVID was dealing with a prolonged period of staff shortages, high acuity patients, heavy workloads, and health and safety risks.
SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents over 60,000 frontline healthcare workers in Ontario, has issued the following statement from President Sharleen Stewart:
“This report comes at a time when Ontario’s long-term care system remains in disrepair and continues to operate at dangerously low staffing levels. The neglect must end now.
To watch live you can visit the following link http://bit.ly/OCHUSEIU-nursingwk