Short-Staffing is Jeopardizing Patient Care
Nov 15, 2013
A couple of weeks ago I spoke at a rally at the Manitoba Legislature to bring attention to the issue of short-staffing in our health care facilities and personal care homes.
As President of the MGEU, I often speak at events like this, and I love every opportunity I get to talk about what MGEU members do and shine a light on the challenges they face.
But this topic is a little different for me. You see, I was a health care aide for 36 years, so I know from experience that when someone calls in sick, or is on vacation, there isn’t additional help to call on.
What happens most of the time is those who are on the floor that day are expected to take up the slack, even though they already have a full workload. We call this “working short” and I’ve done it more times than I care to mention. And the experience of that was one of the reasons that I got involved in the labour movement all those years ago. I realized that my employer didn’t always make the right decisions, not just for me or for my co-workers, but, most importantly, for the vulnerable people I cared for every day.
The union gave me a chance to make a difference, to be able to speak up and have a voice when there is a problem in the workplace. And to help find a solution that was in everyone’s best interests.
We’re all working harder these days with less; less support, less funding, less staff. The issue of short-staffing is getting increasingly worse and we’re starting to see the effects. It’s time to speak up about the reality in our health care facilities and how it’s hurting Manitobans.
The level of patient care cannot remain the same if the number of patients or residents an employee works with suddenly doubles. When there are not enough staff on the floor, real people suffer. It’s a sad but simple truth.
This is the message that we have to get through to the government. Our patients ought to be cared for with the dignity that we all deserve. The issue of working short needs to be addressed once and for all.
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