Shane Woodford | Email news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
Nurses are leaving BC's Childrens and Women's hospitals in droves according to the union.
BC Nurses Union President Deb McPherson says a number of concerns expressed for years by nurses at the hospitals are being ignored.
"We decided that maybe we needed to shine a little spotlight on what used to be the beacon of good employer relations in this province and has now become the least employer of choice. Nurses are flocking out of there because they do not get the respect and the hearing that they deserve and all they want is to be able to deliver safe care to those babies and those moms."
McPherson says scheduling is a big problem with nurses getting burnt out from working to much overtime or working while sick.
"In the labour and delivery at Women's we have lost 12 nurses since September of last year which was just after the independent report was tabled and none of its recomendations implemented to date and in the pediatric intensive care unit 19 nurses in the last six months. That is a problem."
McPherson says concerns expressed by the nurses are being ignored.
"It is about really listening to nurses and giving them a role in health policy participating in decisions about their working conditions. That the front line nurses should have a say in how much staff is on that unit based on how sick the people are and how nursing care they need and who is working that day and they should have a say not some manager who is not on the unit and comes from another site."
McPherson says nurses have clearly communicated their concerns
The Chief Operating Officer of the Provincial Health Services Authority says complaints from the nurses union are a "complete surpise."
Arden Crystal says in the case of Women's hospital there were legitimate issues but they have been, or are being, addressed.
"They are being addressed in good faith in collaberation with the union and with management and with the nurses so it is surprising to hear this come up again because we have been engaged in a lot of collaberative work with the union on this."
Crystal is denying nurses are leaving in droves from both Children's and Women's hospitals.
"There were 12 nurses that left that area last year and the majority left because of a mixture of maternity leaves, some retirements, and some staff that actually moved out of Vancouver. The turn over rates actually for BC Women's and for BC Children's are kind of in the range of four to five percent."
Crystal says those turn over rates are actually well below what is being seen in other health authorities around the province.
She adds nurses seem pretty happy "When we talk to some of the nurses on the floor most of them are quite satisfied with the work that has been done to date around the review and the recomendations and in fact one of those reomendations was to relook at our nursing model in order to put more resources at the front line and we in fact have done that."