Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
Ontario hospitals can ease their budget and nursing problems by making full use of registered practical nurses (RPNs). That was the message of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) and CUPE at the Cornwall premiere of the video “Nurses.”

OCHU RPN committee members are touring the province in August and September with the 11-minute video. It tells the story of Arnprior Hospital’s success in lowering costs by increasing the number of RPNs and expanding their duties. The hospital now ranks third in the province for patient satisfaction, and has a balanced budget.

RPNs are licensed by the Ontario College of Nurses, but most are not allowed to use the full scope of practice for which they were trained,” said Helen Fetterly, RPN and secretary-treasurer of OCHU. “Meanwhile, hospitals are raising the alarm about a perceived nursing crisis and budget deficits.”

“It is irresponsible for other hospital administrations to ignore the full potential of RPNs to provide affordable, quality health care,” said Diane Morin, a RPN at the Cornwall General Hospital, “and the evidence from Arnprior makes that crystal clear. It backs up the findings of a University of Toronto study showing better patient outcomes with higher numbers of RPNs and RNs.”

The two types of nurses are working effectively in teams, said Arnprior RPN and CUPE Local 2198 president Wendy Thompson. In the video, she and other nurses, as well as administrators and patients, describe the “before and after” of the Arnprior experience.