Striving for Dependable Public Health Care – Advocacy Package for Members

Dear Members,

The Department of Heath has begun to host virtual consultations with New Brunswickers to build a five-year provincial health plan that supports a health-care system that is responsive to the needs of patients, providers, and communities now and into the future.

Here is our opportunity to share our firsthand knowledge about the gaps, the issues and the solutions for better health care delivery in NB.  I have been and will continue to be a strong voice for RNs and NPs in the province, but I am now asking you to help strengthen my voice by validating what I have been telling government and decision makers for years; this is your time to be vocal in a way that can potentially make all the difference in your work life.

As RNs and NPs – your work is directly affected by the issues that plague our system. You witness firsthand the unnecessary suffering of your patients, clients, and residents impacted by the gaps and barriers in our healthcare system. I cannot stress enough, the importance of your perspective, in speaking for those who cannot, and for the need to put a face to the data and budget driven decisions.

There will be forums exclusively for RN’s and NP’s, along with forums in many communities around the province. I encourage you to participate in the forums that you can and bring the lens of expertise and experience as RN’s and NP’s directly on the front lines.

We have pulled together for your reference, this document to help guide you if you do not want to share your personal story/experience but want to still engage in the discussions by asking some of the questions below.

Consultation Sessions for Registered Nurses / Nurse Practitioners:

March 10, 10:30am.-12:00pm – Register here.
March 19, 3:00pm.-4:30pm – Register here.

Consultation Sessions for the General Public: visit, https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/health/healthcare_review.html

 

In Solidarity,
Paula Doucet
NBNU President

 

Healthcare Priorities for NBNU and our Membership

LONG-TERM CARE

  • Nearly half of all nursing homes in New Brunswick failed to meet their required safe staffing ratios in 2019;
  • NBNU long-term care RNs report that residents are not being regularly bathed 57% of the time;
  • NBNU long-term care RNs report that residents are not being regularly toilets 63% of the time;
  • NBNU long-term care RNs report that residents are not being regularly exercised 89% of the time;
  • According to an NBNU public survey, 91% of New Brunswickers surveyed support the inclusion of nursing home care as part of Canada’s universal healthcare system;

Suggested Questions:

  • What is your plan for a comprehensive, long-term seniors care strategy?
  • As a government looking for financial efficiencies in the system, why wouldn’t you consider bringing LTC under the Department of Health opposed to keeping it under Social Development?


MENTAL HEALTH

  • There were 108 Emergency Department visits related to non-suicidal opioid overdoses, with an average of 13.5 visits per month between May and December 2017;
  • The number of suicides in NB has risen from a low of 80 in 2007 to 123 in 2018 – the second highest annual total on record;
  • In 2017, naloxone was administered to 282 suspect opioid overdose patients, of which 152 responded to naloxone (53.9%);
  • in a 2017 New Brunswick Health Council survey on accessing health services, 19% of respondents self- identified as having a mental health issue, while only 33% of that group were able to access mental health services;

Suggested Questions:

  • As mental health needs increase in society, especially amongst our youth population, what is government’s plan to provide early intervention and utilize primary health care proactively to address the issue early on?
  • What exactly will you do to promote access to 24/7 crisis care for New Brunswickers facing mental health and addictions distress?
  • What are your commitments on prioritising wellbeing in the education system?


STAFFING SHORTAGE

  • The total number of internationally recruited RNs that achieved registration to practice in New Brunswick during 2019 – was one;
  • 3400 RNs (41%) of the provincial workforce is eligible to retire in the next 5 years;
  • Nursing seats at New Brunswick universities have declined by 50% over the last 10 years;
  • NANB report that 698 RNs are planning to retire in 2023;
  • Horizon Health and Vitalité NB require 520 new RNs annually – for each of the next 5 years – just to maintain current services;

Suggested Questions:

  • What is your strategy to address health human resource planning and the current shortage of registered nurses in New Brunswick?
  • Approximately how much money was spent in recruiting Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) in New Brunswick in the past two years?
  • Hospital staff faced over 1,800 incidents of violence last year – what is government’s plan to protect hospital staff and reduce rates of violence

 

NURSING BURNOUT & OVERTIME STATISTICS

  • As of 2019-20, over 400 RNs (5% of the provincial workforce) were on LTD;
  • Since 2013, accepted mental health claims (ie. PTSD) for RNs represents 27% of the provincial total.
  • Nurses are working more overtime than ever. RNs in the Horizon Health network worked almost 200,000 overtime hours in 2020 (29% more than 2017) and in the Vitalité network, nurses worked over 153,000 hours in 2019-20 (a 40% increase)
  • According to a recent CFNU survey, Canadian nurse suffer far greater rates of mental health injuries than the population at-large – and that was before the pandemic;
    • 1-in-3 Canadian nurses surveyed has screened positive for Major Depressive Disorder;
    • 1-in-4 screened positive for Generalized Anxiety Disorder and clinical burnout;
    • 1-in-3 reported having suicidal thoughts;
    • 20% of Canadian nurses surveyed has screened positive for PTSD and panic disorder;

Suggested Questions:

  • What supports can your government offer registered nurses and nurse practitioners to reduce compassion fatigue and mental health suffering, such as PTSD and generalized anxiety?
  • Why is government reluctant to offer nurses fair compensation in line with provinces like NS, but seems willing to pay ever-increasing costs for OT? Please explain this rationale.
  • Have you ever been responsible for more lives than your professional ethics allow you to feel safe for? Speak to a personal experience: i.e., “I’ve left work crying X times a week for the past 12 months. How many days on the job has that happened to you?

 

NURSE PRACTITIONERS & IMPROVED ACCESS TO PRIMARY CARE

  • More than 30,000 New Brunswickers currently sit on wait lists for primary care physicians or nurse practitioners;
  • Research has proven Nurse Practitioners in nursing homes are associated with decreased resident fall, bed sores, medication errors and decreased use of anti-psychotics;
  • Research has shown Nurse Practitioners in Canada have an exceptional record of working in concert with primary care physicians to provide patient care;
  • New Brunswick trained Nurse Practitioners are more likely to accept assignments to practice in rural NB, where physician recruitment has proven problematic;
  • Nurse Practitioners are the fastest growing health profession sector in NB—less costly and as effective as other family care providers;
  • PHC has an important role to play in helping to lower the risk of disease. At its core function PHC can potentially prevent, delay the onset, or reduce the severity of many health conditions including the complications or recurrence of disease.

Suggested Questions:

  • What is your strategy to increase access to primary health care in recognition of the urbanization of our province and the current underutilization of Nurse Practitioners?