Ontario Independent

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Over the weekend, nursing students staffed the Toronto ER in a “tight situation”

Over the weekend, nursing students staff the Toronto ER in a "tight scenario."

Key Takeaways:

  • After being obliged to hire nursing students and medical residents to staff an emergency room over the weekend, a hospital network in the city.
  • Unknown which of the two emergency rooms UHN oversees at Toronto Western and Toronto General hospitals had issues over the weekend.

After a hospital network in the city was forced to employ nursing students and medical residents to bolster an emergency room over the weekend, an Ontario nurses union worries that health care staffing shortages in the Toronto area may worsen.

According to a statement made by the University Health Network on Monday, an ER was supported by professionals from various units, including medical residents, personal support workers, and nursing students.

Additionally, according to UHN, inpatient units are pushed to promptly admit patients from the ER to wards and speed discharges.

The Ontario Nurses Association president, Cathryn Hoy, called it “shocking” that a Toronto hospital needed backup to keep its ER open and pointed out that recent brief ER closures had been primarily centered in rural areas.

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It is a bandage. It suggests to me that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we are in serious trouble, Hoy said in a Monday interview.

UHN manages two emergency rooms at Toronto Western and Toronto General hospitals, although it was unclear which one experienced problems over the weekend.

The hospital network is experiencing a staffing deficit after smaller hospitals in Perth, Alexandria, Clinton, Listowel, and Wingham had to close their emergency rooms for hours or even days in recent weeks due to a lack of staff, as per administrators.

Hoy claimed that the province is having trouble retaining nurses because they are worn out from spending more than two years on the front lines of the pandemic and angry at the law that limits salary increases to 1%.

In the upcoming weeks, she anticipates staffing issues at ERs throughout Toronto will only worsen. She said that the forthcoming long weekend, when ERs normally experience a spike in visits, may make these difficulties even worse.

She added of nurses, “(Hospitals) can’t count on putting out these requests for help because) they’re going to continue to burn out.”

Among other things, the nurses union wants the govt to revoke the pay-cap law and expedite the licensure of nurses with international training.

Over the weekend, nursing students staff the Toronto ER in a "tight scenario."
Over the weekend, nursing students staff the Toronto ER in a “tight scenario.” Image from Reddit

UHN admitted that this weekend’s repairs were only temporary. The network claimed it concentrated on “longer-term solutions,” such as global hiring and digital health solutions.

UHN’s temporary solution appeared to be successful and had “some innovation,” according to Dr. James Maskalyk, an emergency physician at St. Michael’s Hospital as well as an assistant professor at the University of Toronto.

But he cautioned that it was not viable and ran the risk of burdening other aspects of the healthcare system.

The specialists, he declared, are the nurses. And anyone who has “less than their knowledge,” such as students or medical personnel from other departments, could prevent patients from receiving prompt care in a way that shows they are in an expert’s hands.

The Ontario government has stated that it is striving to solve the shortage of nurses in the province by offering lump-sum retention bonuses and funding for nurse recruitment.

Premier Doug Ford recently said that he would consider inflation while negotiating a contract with the healthcare industry.

Source: CTV News

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