The problem of patient and family member violence against nurses and other health care staff is widespread and Kingston area nurses who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1974 want something done. Violent assaults occur against 1 out of 2 nurses each year.
“A health care workplace that is unsafe for staff is also unsafe for patients,” says Amanda Poisson, a registered practical nurse (RPN) at the newly merged Kingston Health Sciences Centre.
Ahead of Nursing Week celebrations next week, Poisson and other nurses will be at a media conference Friday (May 5, 2017) at 11:30 a.m. at Artillery Park Aquatic Centre (Poolside Room), 382 Bagot Street, asking the Kingston and the Islands MPP for help. They want her to support a motion calling on the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to make violence against health care staff a more serious offense.
“This Nursing Week we are looking for something meaningful. We want more than accolades and statements read in the Legislature about the dedication, skills and compassion of nurses. We want MPPs, including our own right here in Kingston to make it a priority to help end the increasing violence health care staff are facing on the job in our hospitals and long-term care,” says Poisson.
CUPE 1974 president Mike Rodrigues and Michael Hurley president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) will join Poisson at Friday’s media conference. They will review the federal Criminal Code amendment they want all Ontario MPPs to support, regardless of party affiliation.
Earlier this week, nurses represented by CUPE and Unifor spoke at a similar event at Queen’s Park. Together Unifor and CUPE represent over 100,000 health sector staff in Ontario including RPNs, registered nurses (RNs), paramedics, personal support workers and trades and administrative staff in hospitals, long-term care homes, emergency services and home and community care.
Nursing Week 2017 runs between May 8 and May 14. The recognition week is held in May to coincide with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.