PETERBOROUGH, Ont. Increasing registered practical nurse (RPN) staffing levels and utilizing their full scope of practice is the best way for hospital administrations to find cost-efficiencies and maintain quality patient care, said the union representing RPNs and other front line workers at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre at a media conference in Peterborough today.
However, the Peterborough hospital announced last week that 38 RPNs would be cut in an effort to meet the provinces balance budget requirements.
We know that when hospital administrations opt to utilize an appropriate number of RPNs to their full capacity, that patient care improves. Unfortunately, the hospital administrators in Peterborough have opted for the slash and burn approach to budgeting, rather than the more sustainable, cost-effective route, said Joanne Wilson, a regional vice-president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
RPNs are trained to perform many of the advanced nursing skills within their scope of practice. When RPNs are not allowed to use their full scope of practice, hospital administrations increase the number of hours of registered nurses (RNs). Consequently, many hospital staffing complements comprise of too many RN hours, which is not the most cost-effective way to provide nursing care to patients.
RPN salaries are lower than those of RNs. The average Ontario RPN wage rate is $21.91 per hour or $42,719 annually. The maximum standard job rate for RNs is $33.75 per hour or $65,813 per year. Therefore on a straight salary basis, for every RN, you could hire 1.54 RPNs.
Diane Crough, the president of CUPE 1943 at the Peterborough hospital said the local is prepared to sit down with hospital administration to discuss the cost-effectiveness of utilizing RPNs to their full scope of practice.
For more information contact:
Diane Crough, President CUPE Local 1943 and
Charlene Avon, CUPE National representative — (705) 761-4408
Joanne Wilson, Regional vice-president OCHU/CUPE - (905) 439-7404
Stella Yeadon, CUPE communications - (416) 578-8774 COPE 491/gpb