More Registered Nurses Needed at St. Mary’s General Hospital Emergency Department, Expert Panel Says

July 21, 2021

Nursing panel makes 79 recommendations to improve care

KITCHENER, ON., July 21, 2021 – An independent panel of nursing experts, called in by the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) to look at care, professional practice issues and the environment in the St. Mary’s General Hospital emergency department, has recommended the hospital recruit more registered nurses (RNs). The Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) has made a total of 79 recommendations to address the concerns of the RNs related to staffing and workload.

“The panel’s unanimous recommendations to improve care and the practice environment in the emergency department at St. Mary’s General Hospital include many of the same measures proposed by our ONA members,” notes ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “Our RNs have been raising concerns with this hospital for the past three years, before calling in the Independent Assessment Committee.”

The IAC – which is a last resort and extreme measure to try to settle issues that cannot be resolved between nurses and employers – made recommendations that address 11 areas of deep concern related to patients being held in the emergency department (ED) when no inpatient beds are available. The panel made several recommendations related to RN staffing and the need for increased RN resources by a total of five RNs daily, improved nursing leadership communication and support, needed education and equipment, violence and safety issues in the ED, as well as nursing recruitment, retention and Human Resource planning.

The IAC has written that it hopes its recommendations and this process will support the hospital and ONA members to achieve mutually agreeable resolutions to the workload concerns and create a quality practice environment in the ED at St. Mary’s General Hospital.

“The panel has released a very strong report which, if implemented by St. Mary’s, will lead to an improved practice environment for our members, reduced RN turnover, and improved care for patients,” says McKenna. “The implementation of increased staffing, independent decision-making by the Resource Nurse, enhanced orientation and mentorship for new RNs and improved leadership and communication strategies, will create a foundation to move towards full implementation of all the recommendations. RNs are very pleased with the report and the recommendations, particularly the affirmation of the need for increased RN resources to support improved patient care and enhance positive patient outcomes. ONA looks forward to working collaboratively with St. Mary’s General Hospital to implement these excellent recommendations.”

ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care, public health, the community, clinics and industry.


For more information: 

Sheree Bond (416) 986-8240 (cell)