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NS Nurses Union Says Plan to Improve ER’s Not Enough

By Caitlin Snow Jan 19, 2023 | 1:19 PM

(SOURCE: Pixabay)

The Nova Scotia Nurses Union says the changes proposed to improve the province’s ER’s, is not enough.

The Minister of Health and Wellness, Michelle Thompson announced yesterday, changes such as monitors being added to waiting rooms with patient advocates to check-in on those waiting, as well as virtual care, to help with the current crisis.

Janet Hazelton, the president of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union, says in a news release, she is glad to see an ‘all hands on deck approach’, but it lacks immediate action.

“The NSNU has been talking about the nursing shortage and excessive workloads in emergency, as well as other areas of care for well over a decade.” Hazelton says.

Hazelton says nurses need administrative tasks and other duties removed from their practice in emergency, to focus more on patient care. She stresses that there is a big difference between a patient’s comfort needs and medical needs. The Union asks that a licensed, practical nurse be present in waiting rooms to make sure patient’s are observed and assessed.

Hazelton adds that she’d like to see nurses able to prescribe as another action item, considered.

The union says government should provide funding for adequate ER training for nurses, and address their vacancy rate, because, without enough staff or beds in hospital, wait times won’t change.

“We can get patients to emergency faster, we can get more ambulances on the road, but if we don’t have professional staff and beds on the other side of the waiting room, wait times will not be reduced. Plain and simple, we need more nurses and more nurses working to their full scope of practice. We need to fill nursing vacancies,” says Hazelton.

The Union says Government must provide funding for nurses to acquire additional training to confidently apply to work in areas like emergency departments. If there isn’t a full nursing staff in every emergency department, hospitals will fall short of offering places where people can receive fast care and ease the pressure on the ER’s.

The Nova Scotia Nurses Union plans to continue to work with government and employers to ensure the necessary resource are made available for safe and urgent care.


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