Emergency nurses ‘extremely concerned’ about understaffing

Emergency nurses are sounding the alarm about the shortage of qualified personnel in Quebec emergencies. A situation that leads to many service disruptions across the province.

In a press release published Wednesday morning, the Association of Emergency Nurses of Quebec (AIIUQ) said it was “extremely concerned” by the lack of personnel and its consequences “for institutions, care teams and patients”.

The association recalls that the emergency room at the Gatineau Hospital is partially closed and has been operating in reduced mode since June. Other service losses were recently observed at the Hôpital du Suroît, the Hôpital de Coaticook, the Center multiservices de santé et de services sociaux de Port-Cartier and at Senneterre Hospital.

Emergency nurses are also concerned that the situation will worsen in the coming weeks due to the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the AIIUQ, the shortage of specialized nurses has six major impacts: the integration of unqualified personnel in emergencies, an increase in nurse-patient ratios, a reduction in care activities; a reduction in continuing education for nurses, an increase in compulsory overtime and an exodus of nurses to other sectors of activity and to the private sector.

Also according to the press release, the AIIUQ said it welcomed the government’s “political will” to tackle the issue of the labor shortage in the network. However, she would have liked to see “concrete commitments” to reduce compulsory overtime and to improve the difficult work-family balance of nurses.

The association believes that the non-recurring financial bonuses will only have a short-term effect, without solving the problem.

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