Day 4 brought the start of Convention business and of course…the banquet!
As we moved through out the day and the agenda, our strength and our solidarity as a collective only grew as we shared stories from across the country about current and past struggles, how we overcame the challenges, and realized we are not alone. We are all fighting the same fight; fighting for safe staffing, patient safety, protective legislation, and out collective bargaining rights. Coming to Convention only reaffirms what we already know – we are stronger, together.
There was lots happening today – check out below to review quick highlights from today’s events.
Violence, safe staffing and Indigenous Health on the agenda
CFNU president, Linda Silas delivered a passionate address to the 1,200 delegates, kicking off the first business day of the biennial convention.
Silas unveiled the results of a recent survey in which 2,000 nurses from across the country spoke up about important issues affecting health care, ranging from overtime to the rising incidents of violence.
“Nurses and policy-makers know that excessive overtime is eroding the safe, quality care of our patients,” she said. “Our patients deserve the best nursing care, and to provide that care, nurses cannot be stretched to unhealthy limits.”
Public health care employers paid $989 million in 2016 in illness- or disability-related absenteeism costs. The total cost of unpaid and paid nursing overtime was an additional $968 million.
She added that as the acuity level of hospital patients continues to rise, cuts to nursing positions are driving nurses to rethink their career choice, just as they are needed most.
“Over the last year more than 60 per cent of nurses have had a serious problem with some form of violence at work,” she said. “Enough is enough! We will not accept violence as part of the job and are calling for a zero-tolerance approach to violence in health care workplaces.”
She went on to speak about closing the gaps between non-indigenous and First Nations health care, particularly when dealing with substandard care provided to First Nations children.
“For too long Canada has ignored the plight of its First Nations people and there is no excuse for this. Quite frankly it’s shameful,” she said. “As nurses, we have a responsibility to ensure that all Canadians have access to safe health care. We are committed to working with our Indigenous leaders to better understand why these conditions persist and more importantly what Canada’s nurses can do in helping to address these inequities.”
Your National Executive Board (NEB) took to the stage today to talk about the pressing issues facing nursing and healthcare – provincially and nationally, and how the provinces are taking the issues head on.
Speak Up! Download the Speak Up App today from your App Store.
A new national survey of Canada’s nurses, released today in conjunction with the CFNU’s discussion paper, Enough Is Enough: Putting a Stop to Violence in the Health Care Sector, shows that workplace violence in health care is a serious and growing problem.
According to the survey, over the last 12 months, more than 60 per cent of nurses have experienced serious problems in the workplace, related to violence, including physical assault, bullying, verbal abuse and racial/sexual harassment.
“Nurses are more likely to be attacked in the workplace than prison guards or police officers,” said CFNU president Linda Silas. “How can we effectively care for our patients when we are constantly at risk of being attacked?”
The discussion paper, Enough Is Enough, raises the alarm and highlights the need for urgent action to increase nurse staffing levels and implement an action plan to keep nurses safe on the job.
“Enough is enough,” said CFNU President Linda Silas. “We know that the cost of workplace violence in Ontario hospitals alone is $23.8 million annually. These funds would be better invested in patient care and safety for both our patients and our nurses.”
The CFNU is calling for a zero-tolerance approach to violence in health care workplaces.
At each CFNU convention, the Bread and Roses Award is given to a nurse member in recognition of outstanding contribution to policy and decision-making, and raising public awareness for nursing issues and patient advocacy.
Congratulations to Tracy Zambory, President of Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN), Jane Sustrik, First Vice-President of the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) and David Harrigan, Director of Labour Relations for UNA on receiving this year’s award.
Their commitment and dedication is truly inspiring and with their leadership we are confident that we can confront and conquer the serious challenges facing Canada’s health care system.
Oops! Sorry, nothing to report here. What happens at banquet, stays at banquet!
All we can say is, it was a great time! Thank you to the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) for hosting and a special thank you to our surprise guest, former nurse and UNA member, country artist, Paul Brandt!