The president of the P.E.I. Nurses Union is concerned about the government's plan to move 12 registered nurses from unit 2 at Charlottetown's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The cuts are part of the government's new model of care, where RN positions are replaced by more licensed practical nurses, resident care and other health care workers. The 12 nurses represent 8.2 full-time positions.
Union president Mona O'Shea said unit 2 is a surgical floor and patients are often not in stable or predictable medical condition..
"With the elimination of the registered nurse, with the taking in other allied health professionals into acute care that don't have the experience, never been in acute care before, we do actually fear for the safety of our patients," said O’Shea.
O'Shea is concerned that with all the moves registered nurses will become frustrated with the situation and leave the Island altogether.
Health PEI says it is nearing the end of the process of realigning nursing staff. Pam Trainor, executive director of corporate development and innovation at Health PEI, said fewer registered nurses does not mean fewer staff in the unit, and pointed out that registered nurses are being moved, not laid off.
"Patients and clients are actually seeing more people working on the units than they would have in the past," said Trainor.
"We have not laid anyone off. There are no nurses who have left the system. We continue to employ all of those and we still have a need for more."
The union said the new model of care has affected as many as 80 registered nursing positions across the province.
This story previously said 12 positions were cut from the hospital. In fact, 8.2 positions (12 nurses) are being moved from one unit to other units.Jun 27, 2013 12:29 PM AT