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LETTER: Nurses' union speaks to Feb. 4 ER closure

BC Nurses’ Union members continue to be concerned about the closure of the Castlegar Emergency services on February 4. We want the community of Castlegar to know that our priority is to provide quality and safe patient care. The nurses at Castlegar Hospital will continue to advocate for improvements so that high quality care will be there for you.

The Castlegar emergency nurses have been highlighting concerns regarding access to staffing resources for some time. The need to recruit and retain nurses with the appropriate level of training to work in a small rural emergency department is a symptom of the nursing shortage. Nurses have been working overtime in this unit for 10 years. They have done shift swaps, have had their vacations cancelled, and work overtime to maintain two registered nurses on shift for the 12 hours a day, seven days a week coverage. These nurses perform end-of-shift overtime on a regular basis to provide the public with quality care.

As the health care system is interlinked and interdependent on so many
systems, the nurses in the Castlegar Emergency department are seeking to examine the root causes of the February 4 closure. They are seeking a comprehensive approach to understanding all the systems that led to the closure. The issues are more than “not enough nurses”. Meetings are scheduled with management to seek solutions and explore the systems that failed. Internal processes are being utilized and led by the BCNU members.

The nurses are strong and committed advocates to ensure Emergency Services are provided to the community of Castlegar. The BCNU members seek correction to the system failures that occurred. As the public is demanding answers, the nurses are seeking inclusion into the process, they want to be heard. There are solutions and the BCNU members want to be providing them and have them implemented.

The nurses appreciate all the support that the community is providing. Be
assured BCNU members will continue to utilize our ethical duty to advocate as professionalsl speaking out for you so that safe patient care can be achieved!

Ensuring you have safe care when you arrive at the Emergency department is the BC Nurses Union member’s priority!

Tina Coletti RN
BC Nurses Union Chairperson West Kootenay Region

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