Fewer nurses compromises safety

With the new care model implemented on Vancouver Island, many registered and licensed practical nurses were replaced by care aides.

Is your safety being compromised? As nursing students in our final year, we are concerned about changes that impact the delivery of care in the health care system.

Safe staffing is a major concern that nurses have been campaigning about for a long period of time. Safer staffing levels leave a profound impact on the level and quality of care for patients.

With the new care model implemented on Vancouver Island, many registered and licensed practical nurses were replaced by care aides. We are aware of the importance of collaboration between care aides, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses, and that each role has a scope of practice in relation to patient care. However, though all roles are necessary, they are different and one cannot be replaced with the other.

The Care Delivery Model Redesign was implemented by the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

In this model, many nursing tasks are delegated to care aides. Though these delegated tasks may seem relatively simple, it is more than just the skill itself. It is also about the background behind why these tasks are done, how to troubleshoot if something goes wrong, and the assessments that go along with these tasks.

As each care provider has differences in knowledge base and assessment styles, important information can be missed during care handover.

With this new model, nurse-to-client ratio increases. As workload increases, nurses cannot get to patients in a timely manner, especially under time constraints of when assessments need to be completed.

From our perspective, this decreases the quality of care for patients. This care model was said to improve patient care without compromising patient safety; however, there has been no evidence provided to support this claim.

A proper review of this care model needs to be done before it can be implemented into the Lower Mainland’s health care system.

 

Alyanna Serrano, Jasmin Mahee, Rupi Sidhu, and Sandeep Thiara

Fourth-year nursing students, Surrey

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