St. John’s, NL – Today, hundreds of registered nurses (RNs) and members of the public are participating in a Registered Nurses’ Union (RNU) rally to raise their voices for better health care in the province.
The rally marks the launch of the RNU’s new media campaign, Beyond Broken, depicting the dire state of health care in Newfoundland and Labrador and the urgent need for change.
“Our health care system is beyond broken, but it’s not beyond repair,” says Yvette Coffey, RN and President of RNU. “The provincial government must act now to stabilize nursing and protect patient care before it’s too late. This means doing everything we can to retain registered nurses, create safer and healthier working conditions, improve access to leave and recruit registered nurses into full time jobs.
“The situation is critical for Newfoundland & Labrador’s RN’s and Nurse Practitioners. And that’s bad news for everyone,” continues Coffey. “Hospitals across the province continue to be over capacity – the public is being told not to visit emergency rooms unless they’re seriously ill. Long term care beds are sitting empty because there are no staff. Patients are going without critical care in our community, and the backlog of surgeries and procedures continues to build.”
By the numbers, there are currently over 600 vacant nursing positions in the province. According to the RNU research report released last week, 40 percent of RN’s plan to leave the health care system if working conditions don’t improve.
The financial impact of the nursing crisis is equally staggering. In 2021 – 2022, RN overtime and sick leave cost taxpayers over $60 million – a twenty percent year over year increase. This includes 400,000 hours of RN overtime – 100,000 more hours than just one year ago.
As collective bargaining continues, Coffey encourages all residents to get involved in the fight for change. “I urge you to raise your voice for better health care. Individual actions add up, and policy makers can’t help but listen if we all pitch in. The time to speak up is now, and together we can help protect patient care and put an end to the nursing crisis.”