Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Registered Nurse's Worth

In Alberta, Canada, several Registered Nurse positions and Licensed Practical Nurse positions are being cut and replaced with health care aides. In the past, there was always the RN vs LPN debate as LPNs are cheaper to hire than RNs but RNs had a more broader knowledge and have better critical thinking skills as RNs have a 4 year baccalaureate degree as compared to an LPN who has a 2 year diploma. Again LPNs are very competent professionals and are able to do most of the skills and roles of an RN, but
"RN care is more necessary when a patient’s health care needs are complex, acute and unpredictable. Adding more RNs to the acute-care hospital workforce can help save thousands of lives a year" (expertcaring.ca).
There has been studies to prove that care provided by an RN shortens hospital stays, improve health outcomes, and actually helps the province save money. Although it is perfectly acceptable to have a good staffing mix with RNs and LPNs because let's face it, we don't have enough money to staff hospital units with all RNs. But to totally replace RNs and LPNs with health care aides with only a 6-month certificate is plain reckless. I do not know what made our health care officials even think of doing such a thing. Sure there is a budget deficit of $2 billion, but sacrificing the health and safety of Albertans is unacceptable. It has been reported that Alberta has $100-plus million in surplus, but they still decided to cut-back on essential front line staff and services.

I only hope that this decision doesn't have a long-term and permanent negative outcome for Albertans. I feel powerless as things unfold, but all I can do is grit my teeth and hope for the best.


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