With a busy schedule, it can be hard to stay on top of industry-related news. Here are the Top 6 news stories that have shocked nurses across Canada.
Summary: The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is stepping up to push legislators to include nurses in Bill C-211, which “proposes the creation of a national framework for PTSD and which thus far is aimed specifically at first responders, veterans and the military” (McGillivray, CBC News).
Nurses are faced with highly stressful situations on a frequent basis, and may be exposed to physical violence and other types of abuse, which should equally qualify them as a population that is vulnerable to PTSD.
Summary: This January, at the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association national conference in Winnipeg, Nursing Students criticized the current entry-to-practice exam saying it “is loaded with American content and lacks crucial Canadian context” (CBC News Manitoba).
Since the 2015 implementation of the current exam, the passing rate has dropped from 87% to 69.7%, with only 27.1% of Francophones passing the exam. Students are likely to continue to press the issue via petition until the content of the exam is reassessed.
Summary: Fentanyl hasn’t just become a problematic street drug; “About a dozen Quebec nurses have been temporarily suspended over the last decade for stealing quantities of the drug from the workplace” (Marin, The Canadian Press).
In the worst cases, the thefts have resulted in patients being deprived of their medication, and one nurse even admitted to working while under the influence of the drug. The tightening of narcotic theft prevention measures in the workplace is one of numerous measures that could be taken to curb the fentanyl black market within Canada.
Summary: Nurses who move abroad to the UK for exciting work experience often face disappointment to a certain degree once they arrive for their work placement. Why do nurses feel undervalued in the UK?
“For starters, in the UK nurses tend to leave most decision-making up to doctors. ECG? Show it to the doctor. Blood results? Let the doctor review them. Can’t find a vein? The doctor will insert the IV cannula. In Canada, nurses look at ECGs to determine whether patients should be treated immediately for heart attack or if it’s fine for them to sit in the waiting room. It’s up to the nurse to get something done if a patient’s electrolytes are out of whack. Putting a needle in a vein? That’s a nursing skill – and they’re the best at it.”
While work placements in the UK may not provide the rewarding experience that nurses with wanderlust seek, there are many positive travel nursing opportunities available here in Canada.
Summary: Elizabeth Wettlaufer was fired from her position in a nursing home in 2014 due to a medication error, which was reported to the College of Nurses of Ontario. Shockingly, Wettlaufer “continued to work as a registered nurse until October 2016, when she was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder of people in her care. Four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault were added later.”
This case calls to question the College’s process of handling termination notices, and the need for appropriate disciplinary action when such incidences arise.
Summary: A nurse may face up to $30k in penalties after criticizing her grandfather’s long-term care on her personal Facebook account. Her actions were seen as professional misconduct by the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association, as it could “’harm the standing of the profession of nursing,’ under the Registered Nurses Act” (Martin, Toronto Sun).
The incident has turned the heads of nurses across the country and sparked a debate regarding the autonomy of nurses, their right to freedom of speech and to have a public voice.