Infrastructure, training and new staffing result from PRCs at Sturgeon Community Hospital

United Nurses of Alberta Local 85 at the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert continues to report successes through the Professional Responsibility Concern process that have resulted in increases full-time equivalent staffing in the facility’s Emergency Room and its Labour, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum (LDRP) department.

PRCs by the local also played a role in the employer’s decision to add infrastructure at the hospital northwest of Edmonton to accommodate increased patient activity in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), said Local 85 President Orissa Shima.

Nursing staff at the hospital, Shima said, was frustrated with the difficulty the hospital had dealing with the fact that volume of deliveries had doubled in 10 years without needed staff and supports.

But after the local made the decision in the spring of 2016 to advance their concerns to the Alberta Health Services CEO, as permitted by the PRC language in UNA’s Provincial Collective Agreement, things began to change.

With the help of UNA’s PRC advisors and the local’s hard-working PRC team, Shima recalled, there are now several meaningful improvements to report. These include:

  • A full obstetrical review of the hospital that resulted in the addition of 4.2 FTE NICU-trained nurses
  • One NICU-trained RN will be onvshift at all times
  • One full-time lactation nurse was added to the hospital’s staff complement
  • A change in the model of care for the hospital that resulted in the addition of post-partum beds
  • The addition of 3.2 RN/Assistant Head Nurse FTE post-partum/case room trained staff
  • Renewed commitment by the employer to staff education, including specialized C-section training
  • Infrastructure commitments including a six-bed, Level 2 NICU and dedicated C-section space in the Operating Room, with completion expected late this year or early in 2020.

“These achievements are the result of the resilience, dedication and commitment to patient safety of the staff on LDRP at the Sturgeon Hospital,” Shima said. “Brave nurses came forward with PRCs and poured their hearts out in letters outlining the distress they were feeling on shifts where they felt very unsafe.”