@SUNnurses President's Message

Minster of Health Passes SALPN Bylaws  #ptsafety  #nursing  #skpoli

[January 7, 2016] On January 5, 2016, I received communication from officials at the Ministry of Health advising the Minister was approving changes to bylaws regulating the nursing activities of licensed practical nurses (LPNs). This decision in turn affects numerous aspects of the practice of registered nurses. I am very concerned that this decision ignores significant issues with the process and content of the regulatory changes. These concerns have been continually voiced by registered nurses and their regulatory bodies, but have been left unaddressed.

In response to concerns and worries we are hearing from registered nurses across the province, SUN’s position has consistently focused on research, evidence, and ensuring that patients receive the best care possible. Our position is as follows:

  • the regulation of nursing activities must be based on the legislated scopes of practice, the foundational knowledge and education, and the evidence-based standards and competencies of different providers;
  • nursing care decision-making must be based on this legislated scope and there must be  an understandable framework for all nursing care providers; and
  • role clarity and evidence of safety and appropriateness must guide all decision-making to protect our patients and the public.

We have repeatedly communicated this position to the Minister, Ministry officials, and other stakeholders.

The SRNA has maintained that finalization and implementation of a collaborative decision-making framework must occur prior to making any changes. Additionally, standards and competencies rooted in evidence must be referenced in nursing regulations, in accordance with the collaborative framework. SUN supports this position and agrees that this is essential to clarify responsibility and role clarity among providers, and most importantly, to ensure safe, high quality patient care.

In this context, it is very worrisome that questions and concerns of registered nurses have been left unanswered.  A responsible approach would certainly recognize the fact that while the functioning of professions may evolve, this must be done within the confines of legislation, research and evidence. Safe patient care must be first and foremost in determining what that should look like.

Unfortunately, this has not happened. Instead, I believe that leaving out such key components will only increase confusion regarding roles and accountabilities, contribute to uncertainty and workplace conflict, and exacerbate risks to patient safety.

I encourage members to contact their regulatory bodies to seek clarity around the interpretation and implementation of these bylaws and to share their questions and concerns regarding this development.

I also encourage members to contact the Minister of Health to seek clarification about why this decision was made, and why the concerns of the SRNA and direct care registered nurses are being disregarded.

The regulation of nursing care is a question of the utmost importance in promoting high quality and safe patient care for the people of the province. This is evident in the number of calls SUN receives from members expressing concern and frustration around role clarity in the workplace.  I assure you; your concerns have been heard and are a motivating factor as SUN moves forward on this issue.  Currently, SUN is carefully reviewing our options for next steps, in the best interest of the public, our members and the registered nursing profession.

Please keep an eye on your personal email for further information as it becomes available.

In solidarity,

Tracy Zambory, RN

For your information: January 5, 2016 SRNA Executive Director Message