A Work Situation Report (WSR) is a SUN document developed to be key documentation of a patient safety and/or nursing practice issue/concern raised and the steps taken to reach low-level resolution.
Most importantly and vital to the Nursing Advisory process, a WSR, in its simplest form, is a communication tool for the nurse, manager, and Joint NAC to track and monitor professional practice issues and workload concerns.
A WSR is not an incident report; rather, it is a mechanism that provides evidence of issues/concerns in the work environment which are making it difficult for registered nurses to provide quality care and uphold their professional responsibilities.
Consistent use of the WSR provides management with the evidence and documentation they require to escalate the matter within their own internal channels, in an effort to resolve the issues identified by the frontline nurses.
Why is a WSR important?
The WSR is a tool for effective communication which identifies nursing practice issues in your workplace. It allows for a collaborative discussion with co-workers and the employer to find an agreeable resolution in real time. It further helps members fulfill their advocacy role as required by their professional associations for quality patient care and provides evidence that nurses have raised practice concerns with their employer.
Registered nurses have the professional responsibility and accountability to ensure the delivery of safe, quality care. Completing and submitting a WSR to the Joint NAC process provides registered nurses with:
- Documentation they attempted to address concerns impacting their ability to provide safe, quality and ethical care;
- Evidence of issues and concerns in the work environment making it difficult to achieve or maintain professional standards of care; and,
- If required, evidence of documentation and management notification of an issue to protect their license.
The nursing saying “if it is not charted, it was not done” holds true for the Joint NAC process and WSRs as well.
By not raising nursing practice, workload or patient safety concerns/issues, nurses are giving the impression of accepting unsafe or unethical situations. Tolerating such situations tells the Employer the situation is acceptable, and that it is possible to uphold professional responsibilities and accountabilities -- even when this is not the case.
By remaining silent and not activating the Joint NAC process by filing a WSR, we are allowing a precedent to be set which makes it difficult to undo the wrongs and create positive change in the future.
Tips for Completing a WSR
- Low-level resolution must be attempted prior to filing of WSR.
- Ensure steps taken for low-level resolution are documented.
- Remember, if actions are not documented, they are considered “not done”.
- Complete all areas, check boxes, and narrative boxes as relevant to your situation.
- WSR should clearly outline all of the critical elements of the event.
- Avoid emotional or personal commentary. Be objective, specific and factual.
- Avoid including any patient identifiable information. HIPA and Employer privacy policies must be maintained at all times.
- Document the impact on patient safety and ability to maintain professional standards and competencies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What situations justify completing a WSR?
Any situations related to nursing practice concerns, the safety of patients and registered nurses, workload/staffing and patient acuity, and any other factors that negatively affect patient care.
Where can I find a WSR?
Paper copies of the WSR can be found in your workplace in each unit. If you are unable to locate the form on your unit, please ask your unit representative or Local NAC rep to identify the location of the WSRs in your facility.
Alternatively, you may log into your SUN account to complete the WSR electronically. Click here to access the WSR online.
Who should I give the WSR to? (distinguish between paper and online forms here?)
Once completed, it is the Member’s responsibility to get copies of the form to the Local and the Manager/designate. The Member should keep a copy for their records.
If completing a WSR electronically, a PDF copy of the form will automatically be distributed to your Local NAC representative, the Manager* identified on the form, and SUN Provincial. For your records, a copy of the form will also be delievered to your email address. *NOTE: Your Manager's email address is required to complete the form.
The Local NAC will investigate the situation, or follow up with the documenter as required, prior to the NAC meeting. Be prepared to stay involved. The Local or your Manager may ask you for more information on the incident or issue, or ask you to come to a NAC meeting to speak to your concerns.
Am I allowed to take the time to fill in the workload form during my work time?
SUN recommends that you complete the workload form as soon as possible after your shift or during a break. We do not recommend completing the form on work time.
Who can help me complete a WSR?
Your Unit Rep will be happy to help you complete the form. If you don’t know who your Unit Rep is, please ask your Local NAC representative or President for assistance.
Who do I contact on a night shift?
The proactive approach to resolution should firstly include a department/unit huddle, key discussions with coworkers/team and in-charge nurse on the unit. If the issues cannot be resolved the registered nurses should notify the out-of-scope Manager on-call or designate of the situation for further discussion and timely resolution. If you are not able to communicate directly to a manager or designate, a voice mail should be left or an email sent identifying the issues, steps taken and that a WSR will be filed.
If an issue is ongoing or trending, do I still need to let my manager know I am filling out a WSR?
Yes. A WSR will still be documented when an issue is ongoing or trending and the process to be followed.