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					                                                                 Jennifer Caldwell brought in
                                                                 her daughter, Keira, with her
                                                                 to receive her $750 first-year




NewsBulletin
                                                                 UNA nursing scholarship.
                                                                 More on page 4.




 NURSES TO
  DECIDE
 Employers offer
to extend contract
   for one year
    with 3% Salary
       Increase



                                                                 NURSES TAKE
                                                                 CONCERNS TO
                   Weighing                                      THE BOARD

                   the evidence
                                                                 Sherry Stone, President of Local
                                                                 #85, Sturgeon Health Centre and
                                                                 member Jopy Haagsma took
                                                                 their safety complaint about latex
      International Experience with Health Care Reform           exposure to the Capital Health
                                                                 Region Board of directors. More on
                           Conference provides alternative to    Taking it to the Board on page 6.
                       government spin on private health care.
                                                See page 10.
                                                                            MAR-APR 2005
                                                                             VO L UM E 29 n NUM BER 2
                                                                                     Message from
                                                                                     the President
                                                                                                                                                                                                                NURSES TO
                                                                                     Heather Smith                                                                                                               DECIDE
                     Published by the
            United Nurses of Alberta
    six times a year for our members                                                 A
                                                                                    lot of people look forward to spring, to that first
                                                                                    day you can go outside without your winter coat                                                  Employers offer to extend
                                                                                                                                                                                       contract for one year
                              Editor                                         and wear shoes instead of boots. I certainly do. It’s
                                 Keith Wiley
                                                 a time of reinvestment in crops and gardens and this spring the notion of fertile
                             Production
                                                 nurturing for strong growth in the future is not only happening in the ground, but
                              Kelly de Jong
                                                 on the ground as well in Calgary.
                                                                                                                                                                                                             with 3% Salary Increase
               Executive Board
                               President         What do I mean? I’m referring to Friends of Medicare’s April 30 - May 1st “Weighing


                                                                                                                                                             N
                             Heather Smith       the Evidence” conference, an international review of what works and what doesn’t
                HM: 437-2477 • WK: 425-1025
                                                                                                                                                                     urses are deciding whether to accept an
                  1st Vice-President
                                   Bev Dick
                                                 work when providing health care. The Friends of Medicare conference will occur
                                                 just prior to the Alberta government’s international symposium. I encourage
                                                                                                                                                                     Employer offer to extend the provincial
                                                                                                                                                             collective agreement for one year with a 3% salary
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     QUESTION &
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ANSWER:
                HM: 430-7093 • WK: 425-1025

                 2nd Vice-President              members to read the information in this NewsBulletin or check the FOM website                               increase. On Friday, March 18 UNA received a letter
                               Jane Sustrik      www.weighingtheevidence.ca.                                                                                 from the Health Boards of Alberta Services (HBA)
                HM: 461-3847 • WK: 425-1025                                                                                                                  offering to extend the provincial agreement for one
                Secretary/Treasurer              Spring is also a time of special meetings for UNA, at least for three successive years.                     year, to March 31, 2007. The offer would increase                      Is 3% a good deal?
                                Karen Craik
                                                 In April 2003 we held a special Presidents’ meeting, while in the midst of mediation                        basic rates of pay by three per cent for the year, but
                 HM: 720-6690 • WK: 425-1025
                                                                                                                                                             would keep the rest of the agreement exactly as it is.                Cost of living is running at about 1.8% this year and has been near
                                 or 237-2377
                                                 with Alan Beattie. In April 2004, local presidents attended a meeting to discuss                                                                                                  or below 2% for the past three years. It is impossible to predict what
                         North District                                                                                                                      The UNA provincial Executive Board voted
                            Roxann Dreger        the progress of negotiations during the Andy Sim’s Arbitration Panel. This April                            unanimously to take the offer from health Employers                    negotiations could achieve, but settlements in Alberta and other nurses’
                                                                                                                                                             to the members for consideration. The Board also                      contracts across Canada are running lower than 3%. Other health workers
                            Susan Gallivan       a Special Delegate Meeting is being held to discuss the unique proposal to extend
                         North Central                                                                                                                       unanimously recommended acceptance of the offer at                     in Alberta are still in negotiations. After a year of talks, the Employers have
                                                 the current agreements by one year. I encourage you to read the coverage included                           their special meeting held on March 29th.                             offered 2% for Licensed Practical Nurses and other hospital Employees
                            Alan Besecker
                           Teresa Caldwell       in this publication. Is this a reasonable proposal to consider? What expectations                           The Executive Board also voted to call a special delegate             represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.
                           Chandra Clarke
                                Tim Grahn
                                                 do members have for achievements in negotiations if we maintain the March 31,                               meeting to discuss the extension offer. That meeting                   Three per cent would keep Alberta’s nurses at the highest rate of
                               Judith Moar       2006 expiry date? What are the implications for future negotiations? Ultimately                             will be held on Tuesday, April 19th in Edmonton.                      any province. Several provincial nurses’ unions are in negotiations,
                                Beryl Scott                                                                                                                  Affected Locals will be holding meetings before April                  but none of them is likely to surpass the UNA agreement. Ontario
                                Cari Smith
                                                 the decision will rest with the delegates and members of UNA. I cannot overstress                           19th to discuss the extension offer.                                   Nurses Association (ONA), which has in the past had the highest
                           Heather Wayling       the importance of membership participation in these deliberations and decisions.                            “The Executive Board made a careful assessment and                    salary rates at the top rate, is currently awaiting arbitration hearings
                                  Central        Attending local meetings and speaking up now is crucial.                                                    considered financial forecasts, contract achievements,                 to settle salaries and other outstanding items. They are not expected
                           Marilyn Coady                                                                                                                     perceptions of membership satisfaction and en-
                              Joan Davis         On April 2nd we did a phone broadcast to members of locals involved in Provincial                                                                                                 to receive more than 4%, which would still leave UNA with the
                       Wanda Zimmerman
                                                                                                                                                             vironmental stability,” President Heather Smith said                  highest rates. Manitoba nurses signed a new 3-year agreement with
                                                 Negotiations. If you did not receive the phone message, it may indicate we do not                           after the meeting. “We can strategically consider this                2.5% increases each year. Saskatchewan nurses have been offered 0%,
                         South Central                                                                                                                       offer and determine the membership’s appetite for
                           Jackie Capper         have an accurate contact number for you. Please let us know if your address or phone                                                                                              1% and 1% over three years and, last year, BC nurses accepted a two-
                                                                                                                                                             a one-year agreement with a salary increase of 3%,
                       Blanche Hitchcow          number changes, to ensure you too are made aware of urgent issues for members.                              months in advance of the expiry date.”                                year agreement with no increases.
                           Denise Palmer
                     Robert Reich-Sander                                                                                                                     Finally, she noted that it will be up to the members to
                               Lois Taylor                                                                                                                   decide whether to extend the agreement. “Members need                 What happens if nurses don’t
                         Daphne Wallace          Heather Smith, RN                                                                                           to weigh this extension against what we would want, or
                                                                                                                                                             could expect to achieve, through negotiations.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   vote for the extension?
                                    South        President, UNA
                               Sharon Gurr
                                                                                                                                                             “We are at the top in almost all areas of the collective              Negotiations would begin as they normally would, likely early in
                                John Terry
                                                                                                                                                             agreement,” said Board member Denise Palmer, who                      2006. Election of negotiating committee members had already begun
                                                                                                                                                             is chair of the South Central District. “The three per                at the recent round of UNA District meetings.
                            Directors                                              A LOOK INSIDE                                                             cent salary increase would keep Alberta at the highest
                    Labour Relations                                                                                                                         rates of all the provinces. Extending the agreement
                            David Harrigan     Nurses to Decide ........................... page 3    RN Scope of Practice .................... page 11      would keep it overall the best in the country,” she said              Will it set a precedent? Does
                     Finance and               UNA Scholarship ........................... page 4     The most excellent red herring trick                   after the Board meeting.                                              this mean that each subsequent
          Administrative Services                                                                     How Ralph Klein magically                              If UNA members approve the offer, the new one-year
                        Darlene Rathgeber
                                               Comparing UNA Agreement ........... page 5                                                                                                                                          contract will be 4 years?
                                                                                                      distracts from the real agenda                         agreement and 3% salary increase would be settled
                                               Unsafe Staffing, Latex Hazards ...... page 6           in Alberta’s health system ................. page 13   months in advance of contract expiry, which would                     No. UNA has had contracts of different periods, one year, two years,
              Information Systems
                             Florence Ross                                                                                                                   be an historical first.                                                and three years in the past. The extension is like having a one-year
                                               Provincial Office                               Southern Alberta Regional Office                                                                   continued on page 4              contract term.
    PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT #40064422      900-10611 98 Avenue NW                          300-1422 Kensington Road NW
    RETURN UNDELIVERABLE                       Edmonton AB T5K 2P7                             Calgary AB T2N 3P9
    CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO:
    UNITED NURSES OF ALBERTA                   PH: (780) 425-1025 • 1-800-252-9394             PH: (403) 237-2377 • 1-800-661-1802
    900, 10611-98 AVENUE                       FX: (780) 426-2093                              FX: (403) 263-2908
    EDMONTON, AB T5K 2P7
2                                              E-mail: nurses@una.ab.ca                        Web Site: www.una.ab.ca                                         U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n V O L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5                      3
                                                                                                                                                                          T     he UNA Provincial Agreement is widely recognized
                                                                                                                                                                                as the most advantageous collective agreement for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       How does the
                                                                                                                                                                          nurses in Canada. Besides having the highest salary and
                                                                                                                                                                          premium rates, overall the provisions like scheduling and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      UNA Agreement
                                     Next year $750 scholarship                                                                                                                                                                                                        compare with
   Above left: Secretary Treasurer
  Karen Craik with winner Stacy                                                                                                                                           benefits set the highest standards.
      Hartleib. Centre: President
    Heather Smith with Jennifer      goes to five future nurses                                                                                                           Detailed comparison summaries are available through
        Caldwell and her mother
 Theresa Caldwell. Right: Winner     Three more first-year nursing students get encouragement from UNA                                                                    each Local, but here is a brief summary of a comparison of                                   those in other
                                     J
   Susan Johnson and her family.
                                                                                                        at the Rockyview.                                                 provincial nurses contracts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         provinces
                                          ennifer Caldwell was one of the first-year
                                          nursing students to win the $750 UNA Nursing                  For 2005, UNA has increased the number of
                                     Scholarship this year. Jennifer brought in her daughter            scholarships. Five first year students will each receive
                                     Keira with her to receive her award.                               $750 this coming year. The deadline for applications
                                                                                                        is October 15 each year. Applicants need to write a               SALARY:
                                     Jennifer is the daughter of Executive Board member                 short 250-word essay and supply documentation                                                                         SICK LEAVE/WCB:
                                     Theresa Caldwell who nurses at the University of                                                                                     UNA has long been a leader in salary rates
                                                                                                        showing they are in their first year and are sponsored             among Canadian nurses. With a recent 9.5%           UNA is the only nursing union to offer
                                     Alberta Hospital. Jennifer is in the Psychiatric Nursing           by a relative.                                                    increase over three years, UNA currently has        a Short Term Disability (STD) plan to
                                     program at Grant McEwan College in Edmonton.                                                                                                                                             bridge from earned sick days to Long Term
                                                                                                        UNA uses a judging system based on the students’                  the highest rates for both first-year nurses and
                                     The two other scholarship winners this year are Stacy              essays on the topic “How UNA impacts nursing work                 senior nurses in Canada.                            Disability in the event of illness. In addition,
                                     Hartleib from the BScN program at Red Deer College                 life” to pick the winners. The judging team reads                                                                     UNA joins only Manitoba, Nova Scotia
                                     and Susan Johnson in the Nursing Degree Program                    essays that have all identifying information removed              PROFESSIONAL FEES:                                  and Saskatchewan in providing the ability
                                     at Medicine Hat College. Stacy was sponsored by                                                                                                                                          for members to have their WCB payments
                                                                                                        and choose the top essays for the scholarships. More              UNA joins Saskatchewan as the only Unions
                                     her Aunt, Dena VandenBrink who works at the                                                                                                                                              topped up to provide them with their full net
                                                                                                        details and application for the scholarship can be                to provide reimbursement for nurses’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              salary while on WCB.
                                     Rockyview Hospital in Calgary. Susan was sponsored                 found at www.una.ab.ca                                            professional licensing fees.
                                     by her mother-in-law, Elaine Johnson who also works
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              VACATION:
                                                                                                                                                                          PREMIUMS:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              UNA is currently second to BCNU with
                                                                                                                                                                          Along with salary rates, UNA has the highest
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              respect to the highest entitlement level (30
NURSES TO                                     Other Employers also                                              What happens to existing                                  premium rates in Canada for In-Charge,
                                                                                                                                                                          Call Back, and Stand-By/On-Call. UNA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              days versus 45 days). BC, Ontario, Manitoba
                                             interested in extension                                              contract problems                                                                                           and Alberta also have supplementary vacation
 DECIDE                                                                                                                                                                   joins with Prince Edward Island and Quebec
                                                                                                                                                                          in having the highest night, evening and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              provisions to reward long-service nurses.             STATUTORY HOLIDAYS:
                                     The offer came from HBA, which was formerly                         Several interpretative conflicts have already come to                                                                                                                        UNA has more “stats” than most nurses, 11
                                     known as the Provincial Health Authorities of Alberta              light with the current agreement. The Board asked                 weekend premiums in the country. UNA is
 continued from page 3                                                                                                                                                                                                        OVERTIME:                                             holidays plus a “floater”. Stat pay is comparable
                                     (PHAA). HBA represents the Health Regions and                      if delaying negotiations would also delay addressing              one of only four unions to have a combined
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              UNA is unique in Canada for having all                at 1.5x basic pay plus an additional day off.
                                                                                                                                                                          monthly rate and per kilometer rate for
                                     Employers covered by the provincial agreement. Other               important issues, like how to pay the new $130 a                                                                      overtime paid at two times basic rate of pay,         Only BC has a higher rate, 2x, for working a
                                                                                                                                                                          vehicle use.
                                     Employers from the provincial bargaining round also                month transportation allowance.                                                                                       which includes education allowances.                  stat holiday (plus additional day off) and 2.5x
                                     indicated – subject to ratification by their Boards                                                                                                                                                                                             pay for Superstats (Christmas Day, Labour
                                                                                                        Direct of Labour Relations David Harrigan pointed                 EDUCATION:
                                     – they were also interested in the one-year extension                                                                                                                                    VISION AND DRUG BENEFITS:                             Day, Good Friday)
                                                                                                        out the provincial Joint Union-Management                         Quebec currently has the highest additional
                                     and 3% wage increase.                                              Committee has already begun working on these                                                                          UNA is clearly leading the country in both
                                                                                                                                                                          premium payable to nurses for a Baccalaureate                                                             SPECIAL LEAVE:
                                     These Employers are:                                               questions. The Joint Committee was created in                     and Master of Nursing degrees. UNA has the          areas, providing $600 every 24 months for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              members and eligible family members for               UNA’s combination of up to four days paid
                                                                                                        the 2001 agreement to clarify contract provisions.                second highest additional premiums for Bac-
                                       † Capital Care                                                   The committee resolved the issues of education                    calaureate and Masters degrees, while being         vision care with additional annual eye exam           leave for family and special leave is among
                                       † St. Michael’s Lethbridge                                       premiums and which clinical courses receive the                   the only nursing Union to have negotiated           coverage, and 80% coverage of all dentist and         the broadest coverage in the country. While
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Quebec offers six days per year for family leave,
                                       † St. Michael’s Edmonton                                         education premium. The Committee has already                      an additional rate for a Doctorate degree.          physician prescribed medication. All other
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    UNA members can access days for other types
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              plans in Canada are limited to a formulary or
                                       † St Joseph’s Edmonton                                           met on outstanding issues including the special leave             Only UNA and Quebec include education
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              drug list of some type.                               of pressing necessity not necessarily related to
                                                                                                        provisions, making all supplementary health benefits               premiums as part of the basic rate of pay.
                                       † Youville Home St. Albert                                                                                                                                                                                                                   family illness or distress. In addition, UNA joins
                                       † Bethany Care Society (Calgary and Cochrane)                    equivalent to the Health Organizations Benefit Plan                UNA has among the best defined provisions                                                                  only Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia in allowing
                                                                                                        and the “all means all” drug benefit covering all doctor           and clear entitlements for the most generous        BENEFITS FOR PART-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    six months of unpaid terminal care leave.
                                       † Alberta Cancer Board                                           and physician prescribed mediations.                              paid education leaves in the country. There         TIME NURSES:
                                       † Bethany Group and Rosehaven                                    The Joint Committee has agreed to take some of
                                                                                                                                                                          are 5 days for post-secondary residency re-         UNA’s agreement has among the best benefits            BEREAVEMENT LEAVE:
                                          Care Centre (Camrose)                                                                                                           quirements without loss of pay, numerous            for part-time nurses. All UNA part-time
                                                                                                        these issues to mediation and, if necessary, expedited                                                                                                                      While Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
                                        † Millwoods Shepherds Care                                                                                                        listed in-services that must be provided at the     nurses get almost all the supplementary health
                                                                                                        arbitration to resolve them as quickly as possible.                                                                                                                         provide up to seven days leave for immediate
                                                                                                                                                                          applicable rate of pay for nurses, and finally,      benefits, needing to work only 15 hours per
                                        † CareWest Colonel Belcher                                      Some outstanding grievances that are not being                    at least three paid professional development        week to qualify. Only nurses working less
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    members of the family, UNA provides its
                                     Only one Employer from provincial negotiations, the                resolved have been referred to arbitration.                                                                                                                                 members with five days of leave for a much
                                                                                                                                                                          days for all full time, part time and casual        than 15 hours a week or in a six month or
                                     Good Samaritan Society, has indicated they are not                                                                                                                                       less temporary position get slightly less, no         wider group of individuals.
                                                                                                                                                                          nurses. UNA has the highest preceptor pay
                                     interested in an extension.                                                                                                          in the country at $0.65/hour                        disability, injury or life insurance.


 4                                      U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n VO L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5     U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n V O L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5                             5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                The growing problem
     UNSAFE STAFFING, LATEX HAZARDS                                                                                                                                                                               of latex sensitivity
     push nurses to take concerns to the Capital Health Board                                                                                                                                         The more we use latex, the more




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 LATEX HAZARDS
                                                                                                                                                                                                           people become sensitized

                                               T      wo groups of nurses made presentations about patient safety to the
                                                      Capital Health Board of directors recently. On January 13, nurses
                                               from Alberta Hospital Edmonton, UNA Local #183 brought forward their
                                                                                                                                                            R      eplacing latex gloves with substitutes made
                                                                                                                                                                   from other compounds was the principal rec-
                                                                                                                                                            ommendation the Sturgeon hospital nurses made to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                “ As the gloves are donned and removed with a snap,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                by physicians and staff, the powder on the gloves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                becomes aerosolized,” Jopy Haagsma told the Board.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                “It then becomes airborne for patients and staff to
                                               long-standing Professional Responsibility concern about understaffing.                                         the Board. Nurse Jopy Haagsma presented her research                inhale and enters the ventilation system. The latex
                                                                                                                                                            and deftly fielded all the board members’ questions.                 dust powder settles on surfaces and when disturbed, it
                                               In February nurses from the Sturgeon Hospital in St. Albert made a
                                                                                                                                                            Her presentation explained that: “The introduction of               becomes airborne again.”
                                               presentation on latex exposure and sensitivity, an Occupational Health and                                   universal precautions in response to HIV and Hepatitis              Individuals with latex allergy sometimes develop
                                               Safety concern.                                                                                              B in the mid-1980’s has resulted in a vastly increased              sensitivity to many fruit, nut and vegetable proteins.
                                                                                                                                                            amount of exposure to latex within the healthcare
                                               Sheila Hogan, one of the presenters from Alberta Hospital said the Capital                                   worker population. With an aging population of nurses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There is a cross-reactivity between latex allergy and
                                               Health Board needed to take responsibility for the staffing problem. “Nurses                                                                                                       food allergies.
                                                                                                                                                            exposed to latex for the last twenty some years, we are
                                               must continue to speak out until that happens, or they are culpable.” In                                     beginning to see the effects of many years of exposure               Jopy Haagsma also noted for the board that latex allergy
                                                                                                                                                            to latex. Our health is being affected and the financial              and anaphylaxis can be fatal and her research cited U.S.
                                               presenting to the Capital Health Board she said she wanted to ensure that                                                                                                        Food and Drug Administration reports of 20 deaths,
                                                                                                                                                            costs to the health care system are just now being
                                               no one in a position of responsibility can say “we were not aware of the                                     recognized, with increasing amounts of sick time, loss              including four nurses.
                                               extent of the problems.”                                                                                     of skilled workers, disability insurance claims, medical            “The cost of one lawsuit from a patient or staff
                                               Sherry Stone from the Sturgeon Hospital said something similar, no matter                                    treatment and Workers Compensation.”                                resulting from anaphylaxis will outweigh the direct
                                                                                                                                                            Sherry Stone points out that often it is the pediatric              cost of gloves. We need to make our institutions
                                               how the Board deals with the concerns, she said, “Even if we’re unable to
                                                                                                                                                            patients who are most at risk from latex sensitivity.               “Latex –Safe”. n
                                               change to the best practice, Capital Health now is responsible for latex
                                                                                                                                                            “When they continue through years and years of
                                               allergy developing in staff or patients.”                                                                     surgeries children are at an increased risk of developing
                                               “They have to pay attention to the evidence we’re giving them,” she said.                                    latex sensitivity and allergy”.
                                               “If we don’t act now to reduce the use of latex, more and more people are                                    The Local conducted a survey of 172 Employees at the
                                                                                                                                                            Sturgeon Hospital to determine how many people in                              Dermatitis, itching, red hands is frequently
                                               going to develop these debilitating sensitivities.”
                                                                                                                                                            their worksite may be developing sensitivity. Fully 31%                            the first symptom of a developing latex
                                               But Sherry Stone also said that presenting to the Board was a positive                                       of the people reported a history of eczema or other
                                               experience in itself, “We felt they were listening and we felt they would                                    rashes on their hands. Another 18% reported respiratory                        allergy for health workers, but the sensitivity
                                                                                                                                                            symptoms and 9% reported hives. The Local’s results
                                               take a good look at it.”                                                                                     were within the ranges usually reported in other health                             can also develop as asthma or hives.
                                                                                                                                                            care workplaces in Canada and internationally.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Latex allergy follows a graduated sensitivity level.
                                         Alberta Hospital Edmonton                                                                                          Although catheters and many medical implements are
                                                                                                                                                            made from latex, gloves are the main source of exposure                     As the exposure increases so does the sensitivity
                                             Running short-staffed:                                                                                         because the cornstarch powder they are dusted with
                                                                                                                                                            carries latex proteins widely.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and severity of reactions. While symptoms can
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         be controlled by medications for a time, with
       Over 500 shifts where RNs or RPNs were not re-placed                                                                                                                                                                             repeated exposure an individual will begin to

    N
                                                                         response stated management at AHE will review key                                                                                                               react to lower and lower levels of the protein.
           urses from Alberta Hospital Edmonton (AHE),                   information with PRC.
           Local #183 were frustrated with the Capital Health
    Board’s response to their January PRC presentation, which            Sheila Hogan, RPN, one of the Local’s PRC presenters to
    was a two-part plan to gather more information. The                  the Board was disappointed, but she said, “I have no doubt
    board is putting in place a patient acuity measurement               that any meaningful measurement system will validate
    tool (Medicus) to gather more information on the nurses              what previous workloading systems have shown at AHE,
    concerns, which have been extensively documented for                 we do not have enough nurses to consistently meet practice
    over five years. Nurses are very discouraged to be told that          standards. It is very unfortunate that resources continue to
    a minimum of 12 months of data collection are required               be directed to proving what is already very well known and
    before benchmarking will occur. The second part of the               documented instead of directed to improving patient care.”
                                                                                                                             continued on page 8



6                         U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n VO L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5     U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n V O L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5                   7
                                                                                                                                                                       Lloydminister ER nurses have fun
                                    continued from page 6
                                                 Anna Brown, also from the Local’s                          provide accessible, sustainable and consistent             with educational conference

                                                                                                                                                                       F
                                                 PRC committee, said the Local was                          quality nursing care.
        “We’re just barely                       looking at what further steps they could                3. Nurses, when unavailable due to vacation,                        or the second year running nurses from the
       keeping up with the                       take following the Board’s response.                       illness or other reasons are being replaced by                   Emergency department in the Lloydminister
                                                 The AHE nurses have lost count of the                      psychiatric aides or not replaced at all, resulting        Hospital have organized a highly successful educational
        minimum levels of                                                                                                                                              conference day.
                                                 number of times in the last five years that                 in compromised nursing care.
     nursing care and there’s                    management has responded to nurses’                 “We’re just barely keeping up with the minimum                    Melissa Wright, one of the organizers, says the purpose
                                                 concerns by saying they would study the             levels of nursing care and there’s very little psychiatric,       for the conference was to provide an opportunity
      very little psychiatric,                   issue. The nurses’ made it clear during             therapeutic nursing going on. There’s no time for it.             for local area nurses to network. “We wanted to do
    therapeutic nursing going                    their presentation to the Capital Health            As a result the patients are sicker longer and suffer              something local that incorporated both Alberta and
                                                 Board that this had happened repeatedly             longer,” says Anna Brown.                                         Saskatchewan nurses. We had 130 nurses,” she said.
    on. There’s no time for it.”                 and that the delay was constantly
                                                                                                     Maureen, a registered psychiatric nurse and one of the            “It’s an opportunity to network and build nursing
                                                 compromising the care of their patients.
                            Anna Brown                                                               presenters said, “Nurses are extremely frustrated with            morale in a fun environment with your colleagues.
                                                “It is incomprehensible to nurses that               baseline nurse staffing levels that are consistently too            Nurses came from quite a wide area.
                                                given the enormous personal investment               low to meet practice standards.”                                  The Alberta Association of Registered Nurses had a
                                                of time, effort, and money by so many
                                                                                                     “Staffing on an ‘as needed’ basis results in staff being             display and there were a couple of corporate display                a humourous talk on laughter as the best medicine.                       Nurses had
                                  people, and so many avenues to document, examine
                                                                                                     brought in who do not know the unit or unit protocol,             tables.                                                                                                                                    an enjoyable,
                                  and validate nurses’ concerns, that action has not been                                                                                                                                                  The cost for participants was $40 including breakfast,
                                                                                                     and who do not know the patients. This results in                                                                                                                                                      educational time at
                                  taken to address them,” they said in their presentation                                                                              The event was also a bit of a fundraiser. “We don’t                 lunch, snacks and the sessions. The day was held in                Lloydminster day.
                                  to the Capital Health Board.                                       existing staff spending valuable floor time orienting               have much education funding through the hospital                    the local seniors centre in town. UNA and other or-
                                                                                                     new staff they may never see again. It does nothing to             ($150 per nurse per year) and a trauma course is                    ganizations provided door prizes and, according to
                                  The Local’s Professional Responsibility complaint                  achieve adequate care standards.”                                 $450. This way we take over our own education                       Melissa Wright, everyone had a good time.
                                  about insufficient staffing levels dates back to 2000
                                                                                                     Short staffing was particularly highlighted by how                  and create educational opportunities for ourselves,”
                                  when nurses began documenting problems with                                                                                                                                                              “It’s an opportunity to network and build nursing
                                                                                                     many shifts ran short of RNs or RPNs when nurses                  Melissa Wright says.
                                  patient care and first made their complaint. Following                                                                                                                                                    morale in a fun environment with your colleagues,”
                                                                                                     were off on vacation or sick leave. In 2001 Nurses
          UNSAFE STAFFING




                                  the PRC process, the nurses made a presentation to                                                                                   Most of the presenters were local physicians. There                 she said. Nurses came from quite a wide area because
                                  the Alberta Mental Health Board in January of 2001.                were replaced with aides or not replaced at all for a             were five presentations on, hypothermia, alcohol                     it’s an opportunity for rural nurses to network with
                                  They have doggedly pursued their concerns through                  total of 533.50 shifts. The nurses have been keeping              withdrawal, what’s new with diabetes and a doctor with              each other. “n
                                  many twists and turns ever since.                                  track since then. The most recent 2004 spot survey
                                                                                                     of just six units plus the admission nurse position
                                  The AHE nurses thought they had some solutions on                  showed that nurses were replaced with aides or not
                                  the way in 2002 when an independent report came                    replaced at all for a total of 339 shifts.
                                  out of the Delivery of Professional Nursing Care
                                  Quality Improvement Project.                                       One of the changes the nurses called for in 2001 was
                                                                                                     to reduce the number of “part-part time” or “small
                                  The project team was mainly composed of managers                   FTE (full-time equivalent)” positions. The Project
                                  from the facility and outside experts. Their final                  Report in 2002 strongly endorsed the nurses’ rec-
                                  report fully endorsed the nurses’ concerns, and their              ommendation that 0.4 FTE be normally the smallest
                                  proposed solutions:                                                FTE. But things have gotten worse. “We have even
                                  “The situation for nurses has resulted in increased                smaller point positions than we did then, for example
                                  workloads and decreased commitment and loyalty                     .04 and .08, one shift in four weeks and one shift in
                                  to the organization. Decreased job satisfaction and a              five weeks,” they said to the Capital Health Board.                UNA sponsors children to AFL camp
                                  sense of powerlessness of nursing are associated with              Finally, the nurses want their patients to benefit from

                                                                                                                                                                       O
                                  the staffing issues. Unless the recommended changes                  modern care and believe that AHE is regressing from past                                                                              Buses will leave from Hinton, Edmonton and Calgary
                                  are made, the issues and concerns will become worse,                                                                                         nce again UNA will be sponsoring four                       with stops in Red Deer to take the children to camp.
                                                                                                     strengths and achievements in this area. Anna expressed                   children to the Alberta Federation of Labour
                                  the nursing shortage will increase and patients will               concerns that Alberta Hospital Edmonton appears to be                                                                                 UNA 2nd Vice-President Jane Sustrik has had a blast
                                  suffer from lack of nursing care. The Project Team                                                                                    Kids’ Camp that will be held August 8 to 12 at
                                                                                                     returning to warehousing patients with mental illness. She        Goldeye Centre. Two of the sponsorships will go to                  serving as camp nurse for the last four years and will
                                  asks that the strategies suggested be put in place.”               told the board “In today’s world the focus should be, must                                                                            be back this year to tend to the inevitable scrapes
                                                                                                                                                                       children of UNA members and two others will go to
                                  Years later the nurses say too little has changed and              be, on treatment, on re-integration into the community,           sponsor children who otherwise might not be able to                 and bruises.
                                  they presented their three major concerns to the                   on prevention of a patient becoming institutionalized, on         afford camp.
                                  Capital Health Board:                                              rehabilitation”. Nurses are a key component and a basic                                                                               UNA CHILDREN ENTER DRAW:
                                                                                                     psychiatric nursing treatment strategy is the therapeutic         The camp is, of course, open to the children of all
                                     1. Nurses are not able to meet practice standards                                                                                 members of AFL affiliates. Cost is only $300 for a
                                        and patients are not receiving the psychiatric               relationship, which requires adequate staffing. “In-                                                                                    Names of the children of UNA members who would
                                                                                                     sufficient baseline staffing of nurses and replacing nurses           fun-filled week in the outdoors. The Goldeye Centre,                 like UNA sponsorship to the camp should be sent to
                                        nursing care necessary to maximize their                                                                                       just west of Nordegg, is in the high foothills, on a
                                        individual health and potential.                             with aides or not replacing them at all is a shortsighted                                                                             Provincial Office by 4:30 pm May 13 to be entered
                                                                                                     budget solution that compromises patient care and ends            beautiful lake with canoeing, swimming, and lots of                 into the draw.
                                     2. Levels of Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPN’s)              up being more costly over the long term.” n                       hiking and outdoor pursuits available.
                                        and Registered Nurses (RN’s) are insufficient to                                                                                                                                                     For more information call the AFL at 780-483-3021
                                                                                                                                                                       There is also an exciting interactive program about                 or 1-800-661-3995. n
                                                                                                                                                                       unions and social justice. Will the kids go on strike
                                                                                                                                                                       again this year... you bet!

8                                    U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n VO L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5     U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n V O L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5                         9
                                                                                                                                                m ent
                                                                                                                                                     ’s             RN scope of practice
                                                                                                                                    n                               Protecting the role of Registered nurses
                                                                                                                                over
     Countering the spin                                                                                                       g
                                                                                                                                                                    A      lberta Association of Registered Nurses
                                                                                                                                                                           President Jeanne Besner is currently doing
                                                                                                                                                                    research on scope of practice issues for nurses in
                                                                                                                                                                    Alberta and Saskatchewan. Last December Jeanne
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “I think everyone wishes there was a simple answer,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        that it’s always appropriate for a certain provider to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        perform a certain task. But it’s not that simple and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        that’s what concerns me about the substitution of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        RNs by other less qualified providers.”
                                                                                                                                                                    Besner, Sheila McKay and Donna Hutton from the
                                                                                                                                                                    AARN met with UNA’s Executive Officers Heather                        “Nurses have to talk about their role in assessment,
                                                                                                                                                                    Smith, Bev Dick and Jane Sustrik to discuss RN scope                monitoring and surveillance,” she says. Sometimes
           Saturday April 30 & Sunday May 1                                                           Conference provides                                           of practice.                                                        washing a patient’s hair can be a valid RN task, if it’s                  Jeanne Besner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        associated with observing the patient’s level of con-
           MacEwan Hall, University of Calgary                                                                                                                      “Nurses have a role in the health system that we simply                                                                              President of the AARN
                                                                                                      alternative to                                                cannot do without,” says Jeanne Besner, President
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sciousness, for example. In other circumstances, that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        task can and often should be performed by other care
           For more information or to register                                                        government spin on                                            of the Alberta Association of Registered Nurses.
                                                                                                                                                                    “Replacing them with LPNs simply is not an option.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        providers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It’s a concern for me when RNs say “LPNs are taking
           call: 780 423-4581
           or go to: www.weighingtheevidence.ca
                                                                                                      private health care.                                          But she says there are some real reasons that scope of              over my job,” Besner says. “They say that because they
                                                                                                                                                                    practice has become an issue in Alberta’s health care               [LPNs] are giving medication and performing other


                                       Dr. Alan Maynard
                                                                                                      U      NA is co-sponsoring a major Friends of
                                                                                                             Medicare conference that will provide a
                                                                                                      clear alternative to the provincial government’s
                                                                                                                                                                    system. When health workers are attempting to cope
                                                                                                                                                                    with more work, more patients and less time, the tasks
                                                                                                                                                                    of the job completely take over, and there’s no time for
                                                                                                                                                                    anything more than task after task after task.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        activities that were formerly only within the scope of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        RN practice. But there is far more to the RN role than
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the performance of tasks or activities that they share
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        with other members of the health team, including
                                       HEALTH ECONOMIST, U.K.                                         symposium on health policy.
                                                                                                                                                                    “Right now the work loads and what is valued by                     LPNs. What differentiates RNs from LPNs is the
                                       Dr. Jim Maher                                                  “When the Premier began talking about a new                                                                                       breadth and depth of their knowledge base and that
                                                                                                                                                                    Employers is very much focused on task performance
                                       POLITICAL SCIENTIST, AUSTRALIA                                 “Third Way” for health care reform – and when                                                                                     is not necessarily directly observable. It is impor-tant
                                                                                                                                                                    rather than role performance,” Besner says.
                                                                                                      he announced plans to hold an International                                                                                       that RNs articulate their roles in a manner that helps
                                       Dr. P.J. Devereaux                                             Symposium on Health Care this spring – alarm                  “It’s restricting the performance and the range of the              employers and other team mem-bers understand that
                                       MCMASTER UNIVERSITY                                            bells started to go off for those of with Friends              RN role. The demands that are made on them in the                   RNs are far more than the sum of the tasks that they
                                                                                                      of Medicare,” Friends of Medicare chairperson                 workplace tend to focus on getting all the tasks done.              perform,” Besner says.
                                       Steven Shrybman                                                Dr. Avalon Roberts told news media. “Instead of               This is what we are finding in our research.”
                                       TRADE LAWYER                                                                                                                                                                                     But she does recognize a real problem. When Bethany
                                                                                                      acknowledging public opposition to things like                She says this results in a serious under use of the RN’s            Care Calgary fired 15 RNs and replaced them with
                                       Armine Yalnizyan                                               Bill 37 or Bill 11, the Premier has described his             skill set and knowledge.                                            LPNs this January, Besner wrote a letter in the Calgary
                                       HEALTH ECONOMIST. TORONTO                                      difficulties with selling a more commercialized                                                                                     Herald. “By reducing the number of registered nurses
                                                                                                                                                                    “You say patient safety is a concern, and you have a
                                                                                                      model of health care to Albertans~as a “com-                                                                                      (RNs) in our organizations, we have often created
                                       Tammy Horne                                                                                                                  focus on health and wellness,” she points out. That
                                                                                                      munications” problem.”                                                                                                            unworkable and sometimes dangerous practice en-
                                                                                                                                                                    means nurses need to work “so that I’m not so busy
                                       PARKLAND INSTITUTE, EDMONTON                                   The “Weighing the Evidence” conference is coming                                                                                  vironments.” she said. “There are some situations where
                                                                                                                                                                    doing tasks that I can’t perform my full role. This
                                       Marcy Cohen                                                    up April 30 and May 1 in Calgary and will feature an          means redesigning how we work with clerical support,                quantity of providers may not equate to better quality
                                       RESEARCHER, VANCOUVER                                          impressive array of experts from around the world.            with LPNs and other members of the team.”                           of care, if the mix of providers is not appropriate.”
                                                                                                      There is strong international evidence showing                But Besner says, that’s not what’s frequently going                 The AARN in collaboration with the Alberta Association
        Sponsored by the Friends of    Dr. Claudia Fegan                                              that experiments in privatization have been failures                                                                              of Gerontological Nurses also made a submission to the
   Medicare, Parkland Institute, the                                                                                                                                on now. “What’s happening in the system is the
                                       PRESIDENT PHYSICIANS FOR A                                     wherever they’ve been tried -- and that public                                                                                    provincial Auditor General’s enquiry into long-term
      Alberta Federation of Labour,                                                                                                                                 replacement focus rather than the complementary
   United Nurses of Alberta, Public    NATIONAL HEALTH PLAN, U.S.                                     health care remains the best alternative. Albertans                                                                               care conditions. Besner says she hopes their recom-
                                                                                                                                                                    focus.” She said that when Employers focus just on
   Interest Alberta, Health Sciences                                                                  need to see that evidence as well as the evidence the                                                                             mendations will be reflected in the Auditor General’s
  Association of Alberta, Canadian
                                       and more...                                                                                                                  the tasks, they can see RNs as doing the same thing as
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        report due to be released later this spring.
                                                                                                      government will bring forward to make its case.               other providers, be they LPNs, or other technologists.
 Union of Public Employees, Alberta
    Views, and other organizations.    Hosted by Gillian Steward                                      UNA is sponsoring 100 people to attend the                    “Then the question arises, given that the RN is the                 Ultimately however, Besner says that the health team
                                                                                                      conference, including 50 UNA members.                         most costly of the providers, do we need one?”                      will have to work out how it is going to work in a
                                                                                                                                                                    But, she says, “there’s a difference between assigning               complementary way. Given the health workforce
                                                                                                      Registration to the conference is $70, plus $25                                                                                   shortages affecting a majority of health disciplines, it
                                                                                                      for the banquet. UNA members who want to                      a task and assigning the responsibility for assessing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        is unavoidable that we will need to find new ways of
                                                                                                      attend with a fully sponsored registration should             the needs of the patient.” The role of RNs is critical
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        working together in collaborative models that make

                                 Weighing                                                             telephone or email Sherry Shewchuk at 780 425-                in keeping patients safe and optimizing health, she
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the best use of all health providers. “The goal is how
                                                                                                      1025 or sherry@una.ab.ca. Sponsored registrations             says. “For example, when should an RN [rather than
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        we best utilize the skills of RPNs, RNs and LPNs.
                                                                                                      will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.          another provider] assess potential risk of injury or

                                 the evidence
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There is a huge crisis in the nursing workforce which
                                                                                                                                                                    complications and determine the type, frequency
                                                                                                      For more information on the conference visit the                                                                                  will be reaching its peak seven to ten years from now.
                                                                                                                                                                    and intensity of monitoring and surveillance needed                 We cannot graduate enough nurses to replace those
                                                                                                      website www.weighingtheevidence.ca n
                                                                                                                                                                    to keep patients safe? The answer to that question                  who will be retiring in the next seven to ten years, so
          International Experience with Health Care Reform                                                                                                          depends on the complexity and predictability of                     we need to know how to best optimize the resources
                                                                                                                                                                    patient care needs.”                                                we will have.” n

10                                U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n VO L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5     U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n V O L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5                            11
                          Linda Bridge publishes book on “simple                                                                                                The most excellent
                          strategies for overhauling your lamp”                                                                                                 red herring trick
                                                                                                                                                                How Ralph Klein magically

                                          L
                                                                                                      The book is based very much in day-to-day
                                                inda Bridge, former Local President at                nursing life. For example:                                distracts from the real agenda
                                                the Lethbridge Regional, has just come                                                                          in Alberta’s health system
                                          out with a new book: The Hopelessly Human                   “Outside influences streak in on me like bullets


                                                                                                                                                                I
                                          Nurse, simple strategies for overhauling your               from a gun; no money, no beds, too many
                                          lamp. Linda Bridge co-authored the book with                patients, hospital closures, privatization. The              t has the same effect as the old sleight-of-hand
                                          nurse Kathy Knowles, a long-time colleague.                 worst part of this bombardment is that I receive             magic trick... create some drama and draw all the
                                          Dedicated to “those who believe in the art of               no real information. No plan, no direction...             attention to one hand... but it’s the other hand that is
                                          nursing”, the book is a very personal look at               I vaulted onto the local [union] executive. A             pulling off the stunt.
                                          the trials of nursing, and how these two nurses             valuable lesson was given to me that day. I had           When Premier Klein says “watch me change medicare
                                          grew in their lives and their work.                         actually assumed some control over my work                and challenge the Canada Health Act,” he draws a lot
                                                                                                      life. The more involved I became, the more                of public attention. He postures as though reform
                                          “The response from colleagues has been very                 satisfied I felt.”
                                          rewarding,” Linda says. “They come up and give                                                                        means drastic change.
                                          me a hug and say ‘thanks for writing about me’.”            Copies of the new book are available from                 But this near-retirement premier is not going to
                                                                                                      hopelessly human at (403) 317-9321 or through             challenge the Canada Health Act and leave a medicare
                                          Linda has taken a leave of absence from her                 Chapters and other outlets. Distributors are                                                                                 There has always been a large portion of health
                                                                                                                                                                debacle as his legacy. The repeated threats to drastically
                                          nursing job to promote the book. There is                   listed on the book’s website at: www. hope-                                                                                  services that has been provided by private business.
                                                                                                                                                                challenge Medicare serve only to camouflage the fact
                                          interest from all around the country – many                 lesslyhuman.ca. n                                                                                                            The most significant has been the private operators,
                                                                                                                                                                the public health system in Alberta is being steadily
                                          nurses’ organizations, she says.                                                                                                                                                         the physicians who sold their services (fee for service)
                                                                                                                                                                disassembled... and sold off... one contract at a time!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   to the provincial government. Many doctors have
                                                                                                                                                                The sell-off is happening across the spectrum in all
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   found it convenient to convert their practices to
     For-profit nursing homes                                                       McBane’s new book is a                                                      areas of health services. Most recently, the Calgary
                                                                                                                                                                Health Region leased private hospital surgical facilities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   corporations that bill the provincial government.
     provide less for more                                                          stark warning on federal                                                    and support staff to perform some 500 knee and hip                  But the business arrangement took a new twist with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   the Local Primary Care Initiative announced in 2003.
                                                                                                                                                                surgeries. Leasing the facilities – actually the Health
                                                                                    health watchdogs
     A
                                                                                                                                                                Resource Centre private hospital that Bill 11 was all              The $100 million deal struck between the government
           study published in the March 1 Canadian Medical                                                                                                      about – at $6 million a year, will cost 10 per cent                and the Alberta Medical Association will see “groups
           Association Journal showed that in BC for-profit, long-
     term care facilities provide lower levels of staffing and service
     than not-for-profit organizations.
                                                                                    T     he federal government
                                                                                          is abandoning its re-
                                                                                    sponsibility for protecting citizens
                                                                                                                                                                more than a public hospital. But Calgary, which sold
                                                                                                                                                                two hospitals and blew one up, says it is desperate for
                                                                                                                                                                the space.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   of doctors” (physician-owned corporations?) signing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   business contracts with Health Regions to provide
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   primary health services. n
     “When public dollars go to for-profit facilities, Canadians pay                 with safe food and drugs, charges                                           That’s just the latest. Other services that have been
     more, and receive less,” Dr. P.J. Devereaux of the Medical Reform              Michael McBane in a new book                                                contracted to private businesses in the last few
     Group in Ontario commented on the study. “It’s hard to miss                    published by the Canadian                                                   years include:
     the pattern,” said Dr. Devereaux. “For-profit health care facilities,           Centre for Policy Alternatives. Ill-                                        † laboratory services, almost entirely privatized.                     Could the premier-in-waiting
     whether they be hospitals, dialysis facilities, or nursing homes, must
     allocate approximately 10 to 15% of their income to shareholder
                                                                                    Health Canada outlines in detail
                                                                                    the switch to risk management
                                                                                                                                                                † opthamological surgeries contracted to doctor-
                                                                                                                                                                  owned facilities in Calgary, where waiting lists are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       be getting inside advantage
     profits. That means less money for patient care. As a result, for-
     profit facilities must cut corners, and they typically do so in the
                                                                                    from safety first, the issue McBane
                                                                                    outlined powerfully when he
                                                                                                                                                                  still longer than for public services in Edmonton,                   with Health Region business?
                                                                                                                                                                  Lethbridge and other centres.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       J
     most expensive aspect of health care, provider salaries.”                      addressed last year’s UNA annual
                                                                                    general meeting.                                                            † radiology and diagnostics, such as MRIs. Ra-                              im Dinning, the former chair of the Calgary Health Region, is
     The BC study showed that for-profit facilities provided 0.34 fewer                                                                                            diologists who had worked in public hospitals                             now a director of Agecare Investments Ltd., a company that
     hours per resident day of direct care staff and 0.23 fewer hours                The evidence indicates the federal                                            built private clinics and then contracted their                      recently signed a $6 million contract with the Region to provide
     per day of support staffing than the not-for profit facilities.                   health and safety regulatory                                                  services to the Regions and sold the services                        long-term care services. Kabir Jivraj, Calgary’s former Chief Medical
     The study authors conclude that “Not-for-profit facility                        agencies have been captured by                                                directly to Albertans.                                               Officer (CMO), is one of the founding partners of Agecare.
                                                                                    industry, McBane says. These
     ownership is associated with higher staffing levels. This finding
                                                                                    agencies are now rigged to deceive
                                                                                                                                                                † long-term care facilities, the Health Regions                        Neither Jivraj nor Dinning now hold senior managerial positions
     suggests that public money used to provide care to frail elderly                                                                                             operated many facilities, but all new facilities are                 with the Region and the new contract is not illegal. There remains a
     people purchases significantly fewer direct-care and support staff               the public.                                                                   being run by private businesses.                                     question of whether there is an appearance of conflict of interest.
     hours per resident day in for-profit long-term care facilities than             Canadians don’t want their health protection weakened and they              † the fertility clinic at the Foothills Hospital in
     in not-for-profit facilities.”                                                  don’t want to be lied to. In his well-documented book, Michael                Calgary... a money making operation sold to the                      Kabir Jivraj also was a founding partner in Surgical Centres Inc.
                                                                                    McBane describes in detail how Health Canada’s plans would                    doctors that formerly operated it for the Region.                    which received contracts with the Region while Jivraj was still CMO.
     The study used staffing data for 167 long-term care facilities and                                                                                                                                                                  Jivraj’s business dealings with the Health Region have been con-
                                                                                    abandon the duty to protect our health in favour of promoting food
     linked these to the type of facility and ownership of the facility. All
                                                                                    and drug company profits. n
                                                                                                                                                                † a prairie region high risk pregnancy centre in                       troversial, and UNA brought up concerns about conflict of interest
     staff were members of the same bargaining association and received                                                                                            Calgary was similarly sold to the doctors that                       in a complaint to the Provincial Auditor General Peter Valentine. n
     identical wages. n                                                                                                                                           operated it.


12                            U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n VO L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5     U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n VO L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5              13
                                            Nursing News                                                                                                       Nurses on Parliament Hill                                   May Day and May
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Week activities
                                                                                                                                                              Waiting is frustrating Canadians seek-
              UNA begins                              Other nurses in bargaining                           Among a larger number of factors that              ing medical treatment. But waits in                 In Edmonton the May Week and
         organizational review                                                                             contributed to mortality, the investi-             hospitals and other health care settings            Labour Arts Festival activities are again
                                                      UNA members are currently in ne-                     gators found that four hospital nurs-              are largely the product of the shortage of          highlighting a whole calendar of labour-
         with Local Executives                        gotiations for new collective agree-                 ing characteristics were significantly              nurses and doctors -- shortages which,              focused events and artistic endeavours.
     UNA is undertaking an organizational             ments with several Employers.                        associated with lower mortality rates:             given the right actions, can be reduced.
     review to examine how to adapt to the                                                                                                                                                                        The Sunday, May 1, May Day parade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     We are
                                                      Nurses wrapped up negotiations in                        • Employment status: hospitals                 That was the message delivered to MPs               gathers at 11:30 am, Tipton Park
     extensive changes to Local responsi-             April with the Canadian Blood Services                     with a higher proportion of                  at the first CFNU Hot Topic Break-                   (108 St & 81 Ave). and marches to
     bilities brought in by Bill 27. The law          after talks went on for several months.                    permanent staff compared to                   fast on Parliament Hill in February.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    not alone!
     effectively combined local responsibili-                                                                                                                                                                      Macintyre (Gazebo) Park at Noon.
     ties for all of the nurses employed by           Other current negotiations are:                            temporary and/or casual staff
                                                                                                                                                              As Public Health Minister Carolyn                   Songwriter Maria Dunn is putting on
     each Health Region into one bargain-                                                                      • Education: hospitals with a higher           Bennett and other key members of
                                                      Victorian Order of Nurses – Talks will                                                                                                                      a special multimedia performance on
     ing unit per Region. There are quite a
                                                      soon begin on renewing the contract.                       proportion of baccalaureate-pre-             Parliament looked on, doctors Gail                  “Troublemakers: Working Albertans                                 UNA member reflects
     number of separate UNA Locals in each                                                                       pared registered nurses versus di-           Tomblin-Murphy, Linda O’Brien-Pal-                                                                                      on labour school
     Region, which are now jointly respon-            Bow-Crest Care Centre, Calgary – Talks                                                                                                                      1900-1950 on Friday, April 29th.
                                                                                                                 ploma prepared registered nurses             las, and Hugh Scully made the case for              (Tickets call 708-6555). UNA will be
     sible for the overall bargaining unit.           are beginning to renew the contract. n                                                                                                                                                                                In November I spent a full week in Jas-
                                                                                                               • Skill mix: hospitals with a richer           quick action to retain the nurses and               represented by Executive Board member
     UNA has contracted with the Trade                                                                                                                        doctors now on the job, and to increase                                                                       per as a union representative attending
                                                                                                                 skill mix (a higher proportion                                                                   Beryl Scott, who chairs the May Week                      the Alberta Federation of Labour/Cana-
     Union Research Bureau from Van-                         New U of A study                                    of registered nurses to all other            the capacity of nursing and medical                 committee, at the dedication ceremony
     couver to conduct the review and                       shows better nurse                                                                                schools and the number student enter-                                                                         dian Labour Council Labour School.
                                                                                                                 nursing personnel), and                                                                          for the new Union Promenade on
     provide recommendations for how the                  staffing can save lives                                                                             ing them. They used the slogan “Slow                                                                          I attended the class on Collective Bargain-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Saturday, April 30th at 1 pm at Sir
     union can adapt. At its regular meet-                                                                     • Nurse/physician relationships:               the Exit. Speed the Entry” to highlight                                                                       ing. It was a challenging class, not so much
     ing in February the provincial Execu-                                                                                                                                                                        Winston Churchill Square. A cabaret
                                                      A massive study by researchers at the                      hospitals where nurses report bet-           strategies for stopping shortages.                  that evening features Banner Theatre                      in that there was a lot of new material to ab-
     tive Board heard a report on the plan            University of Alberta showed that                          ter communication and teamwork                                                                                                                             sorb, but in that I was the only nurse in this
     for the review from David Fairey of                                                                                                                      Without corrective action, Canada’s                 from the United Kingdom (Tickets call
                                                      nurse-staffing policies make a significant                    between nurses and physicians                                                                                                                              class. The rest were union members of Safe-
     the Trade Union Research Bureau.                                                                                                                         acute shortage of nurses is predicted               708-6555). For more information on
                                                      difference in outcomes and mortality                                                                                                                                                                                   way, Superstore, Meat Packers, Trains, Air-
                                                      for hospital patients. “We are concerned             The highest variations in deaths are re-           to get much worse in the next few                   the exhibits, films and other events mak-
     Fairey will be conducting surveys of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   lines. Those were just the various unions in
                                                      that some patients die unnecessarily                 lated to continuity of care variables such         years. In fact, Canada could lose                   ing up May Week in Edmonton, visit                        my class – and it was one of the smaller ones.
     Local Executives members over the
                                                      in Alberta hospitals when continuity                 as the proportion of permanent to casual           64,000 nurses by the end of 2006                    the website: www.mayweek.ab.ca/. n
     next two months and will be conduct-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   To see the issues without the entangle-
     ing focus groups at the upcoming                 of care processes are disrupted,” said               and temporary staff, Estabrooks said.               from retirement alone. Furthermore,
                                                      Dr. Carole Estabrooks, lead author                                                                      the physician-to-population ratio in                        MAYworks Festival                                 ments of my profession was not only
     round of district meetings. A survey                                                                  The research is published in the March
                                                                                                                                                              Canada is among the poorest of all                                                                            interesting, mind-bending at times, but also
     of members is also in the works. n               of the article. Information for the                  issue of the journal, Nursing Research. n                                                                         in Calgary                                     enlightening. So often we see our issues
                                                      study was collected over a one-year                                                                     industrialized (OECD) nations.
                                                      period beginning in April 1998.                                                                                                                             The Calgary Festival runs from April                      only in light of our immediate surround-
      More nurses joining UNA                                                                                                                                  “To clear waiting rooms we must do                                                                           ings. It was very informative to find that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  28 to May 1 and includes the Interna-
                                                                                                                                                              two things: slow the exit of nurses                                                                           many of the issues that I considered “nurs-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tional Day of Mourning ceremony, an
     Nurses at a number of new facili-                                                                                                                        and doctors on the job now, and                                                                               ing” specific were in fact being shared by
     ties have recently voted to join UNA.
                                                           Send your Nursing Week photos to the NewsBulletin                                                                                                      art exhibit, workshops, and the annual                    members of other professions. How they
                                                                                                                                                              speed the entry of students into
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  May Day picnic. Most events take place
     Nurses at several long-term care facilities
     around the province are signing up, and                   National Nursing Week                                                                          nursing and medical schools,” said
                                                                                                                                                              CFNU President Linda Silas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  at the Parkdale Community Associa-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tion, 3512 – 5 Avenue NW, Calgary.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            were dealing with the issues was very help-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ful in looking at one’s own experience.
     last fall, a first all-Employee group at the
     Salvation Army’s Agape Hospice in Cal-
     gary voted to join. The Labour Relations
                                                                 May 9 - 15, 2005                                                                             Polls show that Canadian voters consider
                                                                                                                                                              cutting waiting times for diagnosis and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Calgary and District Labour Coun-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The days were long but eventful and the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            knowledge we gained was not confined
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cil is celebrating its 100th Anniversary at               to the classroom but also in the coffees
     Board ruled that because of the nature               Many nurses are planning activities to commemorate National Nurs-                                   treatment to be extremely important. n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the May Day picnic, 1 to 5 pm on Sun-                     & meals we shared with others. It was
     of the facility all the non-managerial               ing Week May 9 to 15. The theme announced this year by the Cana-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  day, May 1. CDLC’s Centennial party                       a real honour for me to go to this la-
     staff should be in one bargaining unit,               dian Nurses Association is “Nursing: Patients first. Safety, always.”
     and the Employees voted to join UNA.                                                                                                                                                                         includes a free BBQ and refreshments,                     bour school. My heartfelt thank you to
                                                          The NewsBulletin is always looking for photos of nursing activi-                                                                                        Pablo and Lilian Cardozo performance,                     UNA for making this possible for me.
     Nurses at the Holy Cross Long-term                   ties, including celebrations of nursing week. Send your photos in                                                                                       Elaine Briere film “Betrayed”, the Story
     Care Centre, also in Calgary have begun              to Provincial Office, or email them to kwiley@una.ab.ca.                                                                                                                                                            I strongly urge others to make it a pri-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  of Canadian Merchant Seamen’s Union,                      ority. Through knowledge we gain
     negotiations for a first contract as well.                                                                                                                                                                    kids Astrojump tent, face painting, base-
                                                          The International Council of Nurses (ICN) designated May 12th, Flor-                                                                                                                                              strength and confidence. We achieve
     In Edmonton, nurses have formed                      ence Nightingale’s birthday, as International Nurses’ Day, in 1971.                                                                                     ball game, 50/50 draw, historical dis-                    this knowledge through our interac-
     Locals, but not yet started bargaining                                                                                                                                                                       plays, union displays, and much more.                     tions with others. We are not alone!
                                                          In 1985, the federal minister of health proclaimed the second week of May as
     at both the Hardisty Long-term Care
                                                          National Nurses Week. In 1993, the name was changed to National Nurs-                                                                                   More information on events is                             Sherri Johnson n
     Centre, and the South Terrace Con-
                                                          ing Week to emphasize the profession’s accomplishments as a discipline. n                                                                               available at http://members.shaw.
     tinuing Care Centre in Edmonton. n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ca/cdlc1/ or by calling 262-2390. n

14                          U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n VO L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5     U N I T E D N U R S E S O F A L B E R TA N E W S B U L L E T I N n V O L U M E 2 9 N U M B E R 2 n M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 0 5                       15
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