Nursing Graduate Guarantee Programme Changes
Changes made to the Nursing Graduate Guarantee Programme in April concern CUPE because it more strongly encourages the hiring into full-time positions of nurses who have just graduated from community college.
Many RPNs work part-time for years waiting to acquire the seniority to post successfully into a full-time position with benefits.
Th real problem the Ministry of Health needs to address are the budget cuts to Ontario Hospitals. If hospitals were funded properly there would not be a shortage of full-time vacancies and this would not be a concern. Ontario hospitals are funded $350 less per citizen than the other Canadian provinces.
RPN of the year
Rhonda Eaton, from Perth and Smith’s Falls District Hospital is CUPE’s RPN of the year.
Here are quotes from her nomination:
“She has been able to adjust to change with dignity grace and skill and professionalism. She been a team player all along. She is a very caring and loving nurse. She always provides that special gesture of compassion to the patients she is caring for.”
“Rhonda is a team leader, always there to support all co-workers.”
“She has been a preceptor numerous times over the years. She teaches new nurses, RPN and RN, showing them what you need to do, to be a great nurse.”
Rhonda has practised at the hospital for 40 years and is an active member of her CUPE local union. OCHU’s Secretary-Treasurer Sharon Richer and Hospital CEO Bev Macfarlane presented the award to Rhonda Eaton.
Violence at work
RPN and OCHU VP Maggie Jewell and Unifor’s Katha Fortier at media conference calling for protection for nurses from violence
1⁄2 of all RPNs were assaulted at work by patients or family members in 2014, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
CUPE’s has an active campaign against violence against healthcare staff.
A draft report on 13 focus groups of acute care staff was released this spring. The study is being done in conjunction with the University of Stirling.
CUPE and Unifor opened Nurses’ Week by calling on all 3 political parties to support an amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code that would make assaulting a healthcare staff person a more serious offence.
And in its central bargaining that opened June 12, CUPE did an extensive presentation to the hospitals on the problem of violence and asked for contract protections for staff.
Bargaining Conference to discuss proposal to bring RPN rate to $33.51 per hour
A June bargaining conference of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions will discuss a wage demand of $33.51 an hour for registered practical nurses for the contract which expires on September 28m, 2017. It is expected that this wage proposal will go forward into bargaining.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Registered Nursing Assistants (RNAs) studied for just 9 months, were not entitled to use the protected title “nurse,” and worked under the direction or supervision of RNs, providing task-based care for predictable, stable patients. Even then, arbitrators recognized the similarities and overlap between RNs and RNAs, and set RNA wages at 75% of the RN rate.
Today, RPNs graduate from a two-year college program, are one of two categories of “nurse,” as defined by law (along with RNs), provide autonomous care to patients, perform many tasks formerly only performed by RNs, and are competent in 92% of RN competencies as defined by their mutual regulator, the CNO. And they earn 66% of the RN job rate.
Ontario is the only province in Canada in which RPN/ LPNs and RNs are governed by the same regulatory college; Ontario is the only province in Canada that makes no legislative distinction between RPN/LPNs and RNs; Ontario was the first province to move to a two-year diploma, and the first to allow autonomous RPN practice (only 3 others do today); and yet RPNs in other provinces earn on average 72% of the RN job rate, while in Ontario RPNs earn just 66%.