Issue #2/May 2017
A newsletter for OPSEU members working as registered practical nurses in community health care, mental health, hospitals and health care support, long-term care, corrections and developmental services
OPSEU RPNs ‘hit the ground running’ as biennial RPN leadership conference kicks off Nursing Week
On May 8, OPSEU’s RPN Occupational Division held its first Biennial RPN Leadership Conference. The one day conference held in Toronto brought together RPN members from each bargaining unit. This marked an important opportunity to discuss common workplace issues across sectors and plan next steps as an occupational division. Congratulations to the newly elected members of the division council. For more information about OPSEU’s RPN Occupational Division visit: www.opseu.org/rpn-division
The leadership conference was attended by RPNs from across sectors including: long-term care, hospitals, health care support, community health care, mental health, and OPS workplaces.
Introducing newly elected RPN Occupational Division Council, 2017-2019
Lucy Morton, Chair
Sector 17 – Community Health Care Professionals
Christine Marshall, Vice Chair
Sector 11 – Hospital Support
Shannon Nolan, Treasurer
Sector 8 – Long-Term Care
Autumn Butsch, OPS Representative
Cindy Ladouceur, Representative
Sector 18 – Mental Health Division
Robin Damphousse, Representative
Sector 10 – Hospital Professionals Division
OPSEU responds to RNAO’s Nursing Week attack on Registered Practical Nurses
RNAO ‘gunning for’ Registered Practical Nurses: OPSEU
May 8, 2017
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is ‘gunning for’ the jobs of thousands of Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) in the province, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said today.
“Last year, the RNAO kicked off Nursing Week by issuing a position paper claiming that changes to the nursing mix in Ontario were putting patient safety at risk,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “This year, they’ve repeated that unfounded claim as part of a concerted campaign to push the government to replace RPNs with Registered Nurses (RNs) across the province.
“I’m an RPN who’s married to an RN, and my union represents and supports both,” he said. “Both professions are tightly regulated by the College of Nurses of Ontario, both have a very clearly defined scope of practice, and both have a vitally important role to play in providing quality health care to Ontarians.
“Across this province, in every community, RNs and RPNs are team players who put the needs of their patients first,” Thomas said. “For the RNAO to try to pit them against each other is simply shameful.”
“To put that number in perspective, there are currently 18,000 RPNs working in hospitals in this province,” said Lucy Morton, chair of the union’s RPN Occupational Division. “Does the RNAO’s plan involve severance pay for the nurses they want to displace?
“What the RNAO is pushing is unrealistic and unattainable in the current environment, but more importantly, it’s unnecessary,” she said. “If the RNAO’s first priority is patient safety, they should join us to stop the funding cuts and end privatization. That’s what killing health care in Ontario.”
OPSEU held the inaugural meeting of its RPN Occupational Division on May 8. The union represents 40,000 Ontario health care workers in all sectors of health care.
For those who have not yet seen the RNAO’s latest announcement, the organization is lobbying the Ontario government to eliminate as many as 18,000 RPN positions from Ontario’s hospitals all across the province and to reduce or restrict the number of RPNs working in other practice sectors.
OPSEU recognizes that all nurses have a vitally important role to play in providing excellent patient care, and that working together as a team is in the best interest of patients.
That’s why OPSEU is supporting the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario’s (RPNAO) political action alert. We encourage all nurses, and members to sign on and take action! Visit the link here for more info: https://actnow.rpnao.org/