As Nursing Week approaches (May 10 - 16), the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has a message for Premier Ford and his government: There is an immediate need for nurses to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
RNAO says the risks posed in hospital ICUs and other critical care units, emergency departments, operating rooms and other settings are too great and the lives of nurses needed to sustain a fragile health system battling COVID-19 must be fully protected.
“We’ve heard from hundreds of nurses in health organizations across the province who are gravely concerned. They are nursing patients who are extremely ill with COVID-19, they are giving it their all and they feel abandoned by a government that refuses to protect them fully,” says Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO’s CEO, adding she has repeatedly communicated this directly to the premier, minister of health and other government officials.
“Nursing Week begins on Monday and as we celebrate the contributions of registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and nursing students, I can tell you nurses want more than words of gratitude. They want to know that their lives matter to Ontario and to our government,” adds Grinspun.
RNAO says the government must ensure all nurses – starting with those working with COVID-19 patients – are immediately vaccinated with both COVID-19 doses. RNAO President Morgan Hoffarth says “getting second doses of the vaccine into nurses’ arms must be a priority to ensure we don’t end up with ill nurses – including as patients in ICU. This is critical to protect them and also to decrease the level of stress. We do not have a surplus of nurses so we have to make sure our colleagues are taken care of and respected for the work they do because their loved ones and our health system need them. So far we have received no assurances or a starting date from the premier or anyone on his team,” adds Hoffarth.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.