YELLOWKNIFE: In a letter sent to the Employer and the Registered Nurses Association of the NWT & Nunavut, Operating Room (OR) nurses at Stanton Territorial Hospital have raised serious concerns about an unsustainable situation in the OR at Stanton.
These nurses are struggling mentally, physically, and emotionally to provide critical emergency services with less than half the nurses the OR unit should be staffing.
“Last week I heard from an RN who had just come off over 20 hours of work,” said Local 11 President Tina Drew, “sadly, this is not an exceptional circumstance. Hospital management is working with the local to find solutions to ease the burden on nurses.”
Though nurses and union reps have been communicating with hospital management frequently, more needs to be done at NTHSSA to address the issues nurses at Stanton are facing.
“We don’t have all the answers,” says Drew, “but we are ready and willing to work with management to find creative solutions to these difficult circumstances. Something needs to change immediately as this problem is not going away any time soon.”
While the UNW recognizes that there is a national shortage of healthcare workers, the Union has been warning the GNWT about an impending healthcare crisis for several years.
“We have raised these issues with the employer time and time again,” says Gayla Thunstrom, UNW President, “Unfortunately, our healthcare workers are still critically short staffed, beyond exhausted, and terrified of the risk to patients and to their own health.”
A lack of meaningful engagement from senior GNWT officials has compounded the problem.
“We have an employer who claims it listens to its workers,” says Thunstrom, “but it continues to blindside our members and the Union with media announcements and policies, without consultation or even advance notification.”
As the UNW continues to press the employer, the union asks our members in healthcare to continue involving their UNW Local and service department in any discussions with management.
“Our nurses are doing an amazing job, and the whole hospital is pulling together to keep things running,” says Drew. “We strongly encourage our members to reach out to their union reps whenever they have concerns, so we can document them and bring them up during our meetings with hospital management.”
UNW Local 11 President
For media inquiries, please contact Tina Drew, Local President, at firstname.lastname@example.org