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TORONTO CUPEs Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) released a study today (Friday, June 8) on the Effective Use of Registered Practical Nurses in Ontario Hospitals.

Patient care in Ontario hospitals is in a crisis, says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU). Using more RPNs and allowing them to practice to the full extent of their training and qualifications could help alleviate the RN shortage and save hospitals money.

OCHUs RPN study points to ineffective use and low use of RPNs. The study suggests more appropriate RN:RPN ratios for hospitals. Many RPNs are not used to their full capacity. RPNs are skilled nurses and in many cases their training and nursing resources are being wasted.

Ontario hospital administrators should be using an appropriate number of RPNs to their full capacity, says Helen Fetterley, OCHU Secretary-Treasurer and RPN. Appropriate RN:RPN rations allow all nurses to work to their full scope of practice.

The RPN study concludes that RPNs, who are trained professional nurses, are not being fully utilized, which is wasting valuable resources. The current RN shortage provides Ontario hospitals with the opportunity to implement an appropriate RN:RPN ratio, where RPNs are using all of their skills and training.

RPNs are trained in a wide variety of skills, adds Hurley. Hospitals need RPNs to work in all hospital units: acute or active units, as well as chronic care consistently throughout Ontario.

The nursing crisis in Ontario hospitals today is not necessarily the shortage of RNs, adds Fetterley. The real crisis is the ineffective use and lack of RPNs they are the key to finding a sustainable solution to the crisis in our hospitals.


For further information, please contact:
Michael Hurley, President, OCHU,
(416) 599-0770 - (416) 884-0770
Helen Fetterley, RPN, Sec.-Treas. OCHU
(416) 599-0770
Heather Farrow, CUPE Researcher
(613) 237-1590
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications
(416) 292-3999