RNs - Alberta

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Alberta Health's erratic policies are taking a toll on province's nurses

Jane Sustrik, RN, Edmonton Journal, May 21, 2010 Ever been in a situation where you feel like you are trying to nail Jell-O to the wall? Well, that must be where Alberta Health Services (AHS) is these days with the nursing shortage. One year ago, we were short some 1,500 nurses, according to job postings on the AHS website. Then suddenly, with a wave of a magical wand and the wiggle of an Australian nose, AHS slammed the door on the nursing shortage and declared we actually had a glut of nurses in this province. Nursing jurisdictions here and across this country have continued to raise alarms about the dire nursing shortage we are all facing. ... Alberta

Alberta's Nurses Union Concerned About Replacement of Staff in Blood-Screening Process

Jason Ramsey, TopNews, April 7, 2010 Alberta's nurses union is highly concerned about some of the recently changes and has stressed that replacement of nurses in the blood-screening process would effectively "cheapen" Canada's blood supply. "Canadian Blood Services’ proposed donation model is not aligned with international best practices”, said Heather Smith, President of the United Nurses of Alberta. On Thursday, Health Canada had officially announced that it would allow Canadian Blood Services to put into practice a program that would replace nurses with lower-skilled workers to take care of the initial blood donor screening ... Alberta

Alberta nurses’ union sees red over blood services staff plan

Richard Liebrecht, Edmonton Sun, April 6, 2010 Replacing nurses in the blood-screening process will “cheapen” Canada’s blood supply, says Alberta’s nurses union. “Canadian Blood Services’ proposed donation model is not aligned with international best practices,” said Heather Smith, president of the United Nurses of Alberta. Health Canada announced Thursday it would allow Canadian Blood Services to implement a pilot program that replaces nurses with lower-skilled workers for initial blood donor screening, according to the union. They blame the decision on federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, but a spokesman for the minister said she did not sign off on the decision. ... Alberta

Nurse union fears US exodus

Shawn Logan, Calgary Sun, January 31, 2010 Fears of a nurse exodus towards greener pastures south of the border could be even worse in Alberta, says the provincial union boss. The Canadian Nurses Association has expressed concerns that registered nurses may flood into the US to take advantage planned health reforms that are currently mired in legislative limbo. And Alberta may be one of the top exporters, says United Nurses of Alberta President Heather Smith, who fears an ongoing hiring freeze for RNs may see new grads streaming south. “We have great concern that we’re not in a position any longer to retain nursing grads,” she said. ... Nurse

Nurses file grievance over code of conduct

Airdrie Echo, July 23, 2009 The Alberta Nurses Union has filed a grievance in response to an Alberta Health Services (AHS) policy restricting all of its employees from negative public comment about the organization. The new code of conduct, which is posted on the AHS website reads that, “Public statements on behalf of Alberta Health Services are only to be made by a designated spokesperson.” Airdrie resident and long-time Foothills Hospital registered nurse Jodie Matsuba-Szucs can see the intention behind the code. ... Nurses

Nurses feel chill of 'conduct' code

Union sees McCarthyism, attempt to muzzle health-care workers. Graham Thomson, Edmonton Journal, July 14, 2009 Imagine that your employer asked you to agree to a code of conduct that included this stipulation: "If your personal conduct could reasonably result in valid allegations or criticism from our fellow Albertans, then the conduct is questionable and may be improper." Think about it for a second. You'd probably ask yourself, what exactly does it mean? It's a stipulation that manages to be both vague and threatening. ... Nurses

New nurses quitting because of overwork, Alberta union says

CBC News, August 14, 2008 The shortage of nurses in Alberta will only worsen as many young RNs quit their jobs complaining of overwork, says the United Nurses of Alberta. Thirty per cent of nurses are leaving the profession within just five years of graduation, said Karen Craik, spokeswoman for the union that represents about 25,000 nurses. Craik said on Wednesday that she gets a lot of calls from frustrated nurses. ... New

Alberta nurses rally for more workers, better work conditions

CBC News, May 13, 2008 More than 150 nurses rallied in front of the Alberta legislature in Edmonton on Monday to call on the province to recruit more members of the profession and improve working conditions. The nurses said the shortage has reached a critical level, with many regularly working extra shifts and receiving no relief coverage when co-workers are on holidays or off sick. "In the hospitals, we don't have proper staffing, and I'm worried that something's going to happen to somebody one day. ... In terms of nursing care, you won't have somebody that is available to a patient when they're in need," said nurse Tina Stevenson ... Alberta

Violent incidents increasing on units

Nurses have been raising security concerns at the Royal Alex
psychiatric units for years. United Nurses of Alberta, July 30, 2007
The psychiatric department at the Royal Alexandra Hospital has had
internal problems for some time, charges the United Nurses of Alberta.
The nurses have been pushing for improved security and staffing for
years, but the department has failed to take adequate safety
precautions. “Nurses have been raising many concerns that more and more
of the patients in the psychiatric units at the Royal Alex actually
should be in a high-risk forensic unit,” says UNA Vice President Bev
Dick. ... Violent

Canadian nurses admitted to 'Sicko' for free

Etan Vlessing, Hollywood Reporter, July 14, 2007 Toronto - Canadian distributor Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution is nursing its way to bigger boxoffice for Michael Moore's "Sicko." The Toronto-based distributor said Friday that it has arranged for major domestic exhibitors to offer free tickets to Canadian nurses to see "Sicko" next week. The move follows Moore choosing to reimburse the United Nurses of Alberta, a western Canadian nursing union, after it ordered 150 tickets to see his latest film, a critique of the US health care system. "Nurses across Canada are on the front line in the battle against those forces who want to inch the Canadian health care system toward the American way," Moore said in a statement Friday. ... Canadian

'SiCKO' director gets moral support from nurses

Heather Adler, CanWest News Service, July 13, 2007 Loud-mouthed documentary maker Michael Moore has offered to reimburse the United Nurses of Alberta, which purchased 150 tickets to his latest film SiCKO to distribute to the public last week. The flick dissects the health-care crisis in the United States and highlights the problems with private health care, something that some Canadian politicians have pushed to bring north of the border. Nurses in Alberta distributed the tickets free in an attempt to educate people on some of the undesirable side effects such a system has created in America. Moore is now commending their efforts. "Nurses across Canada are on the front line in the battle against those forces who want to inch the Canadian health-care system toward the American way," Moore said in a statement. ... SiCKO

Canadian nurses to see Sicko for free: distributor

CBC, July 13, 2007 Inspired by the Alberta nurses who recently handed out free tickets to Michael Moore's Sicko, the film's Canadian distributor will provide free admission to all Canadian nurses next week. Alliance Atlantis announced on Thursday that it will provide free admission to the health-care documentary for nurses across the country from Monday through Thursday. "We applaud the United Nurses of Alberta for their enthusiasm and hope to encourage others in the nursing profession to see the film that continues to spark debate across this country," Alliance Atlantis said in a statement. ... Canadian

Alberta nurses get major wage boost

Canadian Press, July 13, 2007 Edmonton - Alberta's registered nurses will be among the highest paid nurses in Canada as a result of a new three-year contract that includes wages increases of 15 per cent and hefty cash bonuses. The highest rates for senior nurses will increase to $43 an hour from $37 an hour in the third year of the deal. "That's kind of a reality of life in Alberta these days," says Howard May, spokesman for Alberta Health. "We've got terrific recruitment challenges, so there's no point in building new hospitals if you don't have nurses and doctors." The nurses voted strongly in favour of the new deal this week and Alberta's nine health authorities announced Thursday that they have also ratified the new contract. ... Alberta

Nurses accept contract

Will be highest-paid in country. Dave Dormer, Sun Media, July 12, 2007 United Nurses of Alberta members have voted 82% in favour of accepting a new, three-year collective agreement, making them the highest paid in the country. Under the deal - recommended by mediator David Jones - nurses will receive a 15% pay hike over the next three years (5% per year) as well as annual, lump-sum payments of between $1,500 and $1,750 as a cost of living adjustment, night, evening, weekend and on-call premiums, improved benefits and increased transportation allowances. Nurses with 20 or more years of experience will also receive an additional 2% raise. Senior nurses will now make more than $43 an hour, up from just under $37 an hour. UNA secretary treasurer Karen Craik said improved benefits should help with attracting and retaining workers. ... Nurses

Alberta nurses overwhelmingly accept contract

Canadian Press, July 12, 2007 Alberta's nurses have become the highest paid in the country after overwhelmingly approving a three-year contract. About 80 per cent of the province's 24,000 nurses voted Wednesday in favour of a mediator's deal, which will see senior nurses make more than $43 an hour in the third year of the three-year agreement, up from just under $37. Heather Smith, president of the United Nurses of Alberta, said she hopes the agreement will help address the nursing shortage in the province. "We aren't looking to poach nurses, we are looking to retain the graduates from Alberta programs and encourage the current workforce to continue to participate." ... Alberta

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