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Prince Albert: The union representing licensed practical nurses (LPNs) met with the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region board today to discuss its new report and recommendations to fully utilize LPNs and other health professionals in the region.

CUPE’s report, Full Utilization of LPNs: A practical solution to the nursing shortage was sent to all health region board members last month. At the meeting today, CUPE 4777 President Carol McKnight pointed out that many LPNs in the health region still are not allowed to work to their full scope of training.

Karen Disiewich, a CUPE licensed practical nurse at the P.A. Victoria Hospital, is one of them. Although Karen has all the required training and education to work in the hospital’s renal dialysis unit, she is not allowed to perform all of a nurse’s job duties. In contrast, CUPE LPNs working in the dialysis units in Regina and Yorkton are working to full-scope.

McKnight described the situation as a “terrible waste of nursing skills and talent.”  The union’s recommendations to address the problem include: 

  • The development of a clear policyto enable LPNs to work to their full scope of practice across the health region.  The policy should include a complaint/resolution process so that LPNs or supervisors can challenge an assignment of duties that violates the policy
  • The Health Region foster a culture of respect and team work among all nursing groups
  •  The Health Region establish benchmarks in each facility to measure progress towards the goal of full utilization of LPNs

CUPE believes all health professionals should be working to their full-scope of practice. It not only will increase job satisfaction for Karen and other health professionals, it will improve patient care,” McKnight said.