St. John’s – The Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador (RNU) launched a new campaign today, which highlights the inadequate staffing practices currently facing RNs in this province.

The “More Full-Time RNs Can Save A Lot” campaign will address the serious issues that RNs face regarding staffing and workload challenges. When there is not adequate RN staffing, costs go up in the health care system, as the quality of care goes down.

“Inadequate RN staffing practices have become the norm in our province, and it’s having a negative impact on our members and the health care system overall,” says Debbie Forward, President of RNU. “If RNs were staffed properly, it would create safer and healthier work environments and improve patient outcomes, while saving on health care costs.”

Last year, the province spent $47 million on vital overtime and sick leave. RNs worked over 240,000 hours of overtime in 2016-17. There were also more than 1,200 different occasions of RNs working 16-22 hour shifts, with some working 24 hours.

“Improper RN staffing is negatively impacting RNs, patients, and the province’s finances,” says Forward. “Investing in safer RN staffing will lead to better patient outcomes, earlier interventions, and fewer readmissions and complications. It will help prevent burnout, injury and fatigue, and lower the costs associated with overtime and sick leave.”

RNU is looking to the provincial government to invest in safer RN staffing levels, and create a more efficient system.

“Core RN staffing hasn’t kept pace with our aging population and the high rates of disease in Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s time to re-evaluate staffing levels to ensure they meet patient demands,” says Forward.

RNU has significant research to support their claim that adding more RNs to the system is the right decision.   Global evidence links lower RN staffing to unfavorable patient outcomes such as increased mortality, falls, infections, and longer lengths of stay – all of which increase health care costs.

Research on safe RN staffing and the “More Full Time RNs Can Save A Lot” campaign materials can be viewed at


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Media Contact:

Karyn Whelan, Registered Nurses’ Union
Phone: 753.9961 EXT 219, 691-0889