Since the beginning of COVID-19, RNU has been working hard to keep you safe.  This includes ensuring you have access to the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

We are pleased to report a joint statement on PPE has been signed by RNU, NAPE, NLMA, CUPE, AAHP, PARNL, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Regional Health Authorities. It identifies PPE standards for health care workers.

RNU took the lead in developing the joint statement. It’s been in progress for several weeks, but took time to finalize. It provides clarity on PPE and recognizes the clinical and professional judgement of health care workers.

Click here to read the Joint Statement. Here are a few key highlights:

  • A point-of-care risk assessment (PCRA) must be performed before every patient interaction to determine what PPE a health care worker requires to safely provide care. The PCRA includes an evaluation of the type of care you will provide, the status of the patient/ client and the environment in which you are practicing.  If you determine, based on your professional and clinical judgement, that fitted respirator protection (N95 or equivalent) is required you will not be unreasonably denied by your employer. In the case where you determine an N95 is required and you are unable to be fitted for one, you will be deployed.
  • Airborne precautions (including N95 respirator or approved equivalent or better protection) must be mandatory in areas where aerosol-generating medical procedures (AGMP) are being performed, are frequently performed, or in areas where there are intubated patients, including but not limited to emergency rooms, operating rooms, intensive care units and bronchoscopy suites.

RNU developed a Visual Guide to help you complete your point-of-care risk assessment and determine the PPE you require.  This guide is based on our interpretation.

Save a copy of the Visual Guide on your phone.

We know further work is needed to ensure frontline managers follow the measures in the statement. We are working with government and RHAs to make sure this happens.

If you complete a PRCA and are still denied PPE:

–    Show your manager the joint statement and visual guide
–    Contact your Labour Relations Officer by emailing info@rnunl.ca
–    You have the right to refuse unsafe work.

Thanks to your help, over 2,000 emails were sent to government about PPE. RNU President Debbie Forward had numerous conversations about PPE with the premier and officials from the RHAs and Department of Health and Community Services. Through media interviews and social media, we’ve pushed the importance of keeping our health care workers safe.

While the joint statement is a positive step forward, we know issues regarding PPE will continue to arise. We’ll keep working to raise your concerns and work together with the RHAs and government to find solutions. If you need us, please reach out by emailing info@rnunl.ca.