As someone who has sat on the council of nurses for St Mary's Hospital and who is an FIQ delegate for the same hospital, I am in a unique position to comment on the deleterious effects that health care reform has had on all facets of health care.
Health care has become a numbers game, and the ultimate bottom line is the budget. The staffing shortage has caused record hours off forced overtime that nursing staff is pressed to to in order ''to take one for the team."
Cutting down on secretarial staff forces nurses, along with their other tasks, to perform those tasks as well. Distributing food trays, which has become a common practice in many units, along with drawing repeat blood work postoperative surgical and acute medical-surgical floors impact the level of patient care.
When support staff is cut, it is the nursing staff that picks up the slack. When nurses are overwhelmed by non-nursing tasks, it stands to reason that the quality of nursing care will be negatively impacted.
The infamous Bill 131 clearly stipulated that there will be consequences of
a pecuniary nature if patients spend more than 24 hours in an emergency room. This arbitrary punative mindset offers little in the way of solutions to overcrowded emergency rooms.
Placing non-nursing staff in charge of nursing department staff, clearly shows the disdain that the government has for nursing professionals ability to run their own departments.
When ''fonctionaires" make decisions on how health care is delivered there is a serious problem. Health care reform has removed decision-making at the local level, and in it's place has implemented a ''one size '' fits all collective. Thus, in its process of removing any vestige of the human element from health care, any humanity that remains is through the ultimate grace and compassion of those who stay the course, those who labour and toil day after day in the trenches 12 and 16 hours at a time under Orwellian conditions.
Clearly, the"bigger is better " Walmart mentality has not been a success in terms of health care.
Joanne Scullion FIQ delegate