HAMILTON – An announcement by Mohawk College to change nursing instructors’ job classifications, and cut their wages, will have a negative impact on the quality of education and training provided to nursing students, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO).
Currently, students receive immediate feedback from faculty who provide hands-on, bedside education. The new model replaces that direct education model with clinical supervision, a checklist and no instruction.
“This new model is all about paying instructors less and dismissing the vital teaching role required in the clinical environment,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick. “This wage cut robs students of a rich educational experience.”
Starting in 2023, part-time or contract instructors at Mohawk College who provide hands-on training to nursing and PSW students in hospitals and long-term-care facilities will see their job classifications change, and their hourly wage cut in half, as part of a revamping of those programs by the college.
The announcement has drawn concern from veteran medical professionals and members of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 240 who have expressed their opposition to the change.
“Teaching is not just supervision,” said President of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 240, Heather Giardine-Tuck. “You can’t replace clinical mentorship with a checklist. Faculty instructors provide hands-on teaching that helps students avoid errors before it’s too late.”
The college’s wage cut leaves the work of ensuring students give medications or treatments correctly and safety in the clinical environment to nurses and PSWs working at hospitals and long-term care homes. Nurses and PSWs already over-worked in a health system suffering from understaffing will be expected to oversee the work of the students and ensure there are no irregularities.
“Not only is this wage cut bad for students and nursing education, it is also dangerous to expect the nursing staff and PSWs, already busy and stressed, to fill the gaps,” said Hornick. “Faculty who work with students at the bedside ensure a high-quality, rewarding clinical education experience for all. It’s the learning experience students at Mohawk College deserve.”