Letters to the Editor

Nursing cuts will hurt patient safety: BCNU

Re: Dialogue needed in nurse wars (Our View, Jan. 8)

Vancouver Island nurses are reacting to a threat to patient safety and the quality of hospital care, not having a “turf war” or a “squabble” with management.

Island Health’s plan to replace more than 122 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses with unlicensed care aides on medical and surgical units in Victoria means patients will suffer. And the resulting loss of more than 226,000 annual hours of professional nursing care for some of the sickest patients in hospitals means remaining nurses will see the number of patients they care for double.

Nurses welcome care aides as additions to existing care teams to assist patients with the activities of daily living. But care aides are not trained or licensed to provide nursing care – they cannot assess patients, administer medications or intervene to prevent adverse events.

Giving nurses more patients than they can safely care for will result in higher complication rates, longer lengths of stay and higher readmission rates. It could even mean failure to save a life.

Adriane Gear, Margo Wilton

South Islands co-chairs

British Columbia Nurses’ Union

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