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Reduction of registered nurses affects patient safety, quality of care

I am a concerned Loyalist College/Brock University nursing student writing to implore the public to petition the government regarding the severe reduction of more than 1,000 registered nurses since 2012 and to increase public awareness regarding this alarming issue (Haslam-Stroud, 2014).

This is not an issue that should be taken lightly, nor is this an issue that is only affecting nurses. Cuts to registered nursing staff is affecting current patient safety and quality of care as well as affecting future nursing care that the public will receive.

Current president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, Linda Haslam-Stroud (2014), stated that there are only seven registered nurses to every 1,000 Ontarians. This is extremely alarming because this puts Ontario as one of the lowest provinces of nurses per capita in spite of Ontario having the largest population (Haslam-Stroud, 2014).

Do you, fellow Ontarians, believe that Ontario deserves the same equitable and high quality care as the rest of the provinces? If so, then why has the government cut over 1,000 nursing jobs when it has been continually shown that the rate of complications, including death, increases seven per cent every time another patient is added to a nurse’s already taxed work-load (Hildebrandt, 2013). We cannot turn a blind eye to this. These are our mothers, sons, sisters, and grandfathers receiving this unsatisfactory care and our dedicated nurses that are being burnt out.

These alarming facts indicate that we, as the public, consumers of health care, and tax payers, deserve better. Nevertheless if we do not collectively raise our voice, the government will continue to make upsetting cuts to registered nurses for the sake of a “quick fix” to save money even though “it’s less money to reduce wait times, it’s less money to hire nurses, it’s less time to provide Ontario families…with the care that they need” (Haslam-Stroud, 2014, p. 30).

This is why we must come together and act. McIntyre & McDonald (2014) suggest there are several ways we can do this such as by signing a petition the Ontario Nurses’ Association has on their website, tweeting or writing letters to our MPP, and using social media and blogging to raise awareness.  What we cannot do is nothing.

These are our friends and family being affected by compromised care due to the alarming nursing shortage; therefore, let us unite and become a powerful voice that the government cannot silence.

Deborah Kuipers
Third-Year BScN Loyalist College/Brock University Student

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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