Nurses' Bargaining Association negotiations begin
Safe care issues top nurses' agenda
Initial contract negotiations between the Nurses' Bargaining Association (NBA) and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) took place May 15 and 16. The NBA contract covers Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses employed by provincial health authorities. Although the current 2012-2014 Provincial Collective Agreement (PCA) expired March 31, 2014, its provisions remain in effect.
Current safe staffing issues unresolved
Nurses' top priority for bargaining talks is their ability to provide safe, quality patient care. Contract language to ensure safe staffing levels was secured in the previous contract. However NBA representatives expressed grave concerns about the lack of respect for that agreement and the failure of the employer to implement the language that is designed to ensure safer care for the patients, clients and residents of nurses. Resolving those issues and many other outstanding issues from the last agreement must be tackled before any discussions on new initiatives take place.
Despite contractual promises to replace nurses when absent as well as for patient demand, nurses' representatives say evidence shows this has often not occurred. They say long-term care nurses have not received access to jobs and training when layoffs took place which was promised in the last agreement. Ongoing violence against nurses and unsafe working conditions also persist, and nurses want to see province-wide solutions from this round of negotiations.
Nurses' experiences must be heard
During the talks, NBA reps insisted that the real life day-to-day working experiences of nurses must be heard at the table. To-date, however, many nurses' experiences indicate that they are not getting the required staffing that was agreed to – and patients and nurses are suffering as a result. For its part, the employer was anxious to present numbers showing progress in how it has addressed staffing. Today HEABC presented and reviewed the recent Health Sciences Professional Bargaining Association (HSPBA) five-year deal which was ratified in December of 2013.
The preliminary talks ended today, and nurses' reps remain firm that outstanding staffing and care issues must be resolved. Both nurses and employer spokespersons expressed a willingness to listen and look for solutions. No dates have been set for future discussions at this time.
RPN Competency Survey
The College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC is in need of your expertise to complete a survey as part of the validation process for national entry-level Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) competencies.
The Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada (RPNC) has launched a national initiative to improve the mobility and assessment of Canadian and internationally educated RPNs. Supported by funding from the Government of Canada and the RPNC, a key component of the project is the development of national entry-level competencies for RPNs. These competencies will be used as the basis to provide role clarity, serve as a guide for curriculum development and raise public and employer awareness of practice expectations of RPNs.
With input from RPN experts across Canada, a draft national entry-level competencies document has been prepared. We now need your help to validate the competencies and we ask that you complete an online survey administered by Assessment Strategies Inc. and available at http://fluidsurveys.com/s/2014_RPNC_Competency_Profile/ from May 12 to the 24th (inclusively).
Your vital task is to evaluate each of the 42 key and enabling competencies according to three criteria (Applicability, Importance and Frequency), which are explained in the survey. If you cannot complete the survey in one sitting, you can return to the survey at a later time. Your responses will be kept confidential and individual respondents will not be identified in the reporting of results. It should take no more than 45 minutes to one hour to complete.
The CRPNBC fully supports this initiative. Having a robust entry-level competencies document is a crucial foundation for the successful development of the RPN profession and the success of the project will depend on the strength of the survey responses, which will influence any revisions.
If you require technical support during the completion of the online survey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you have any questions about the Competency Review project, please contact Karine Georges at email@example.com or at 1-888-900-0005, extension 255.
Thank you in advance for your contribution to this important project for your profession.
The Spotlite is on . . .
Christine Brisebois RPN
The Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre is one part of the provincial Child and Youth Mental Health service network that provides an array of direct residential and community services for youth and their families. It is designated under the Mental Health Act as a provincial mental health facility. Through its programs and services, it supports communities in caring for and treating troubled 12 to 17 year–old youth with significant psychiatric and behavioural difficulties.
Christine Brisebois works at the Maples and really enjoys working with children and adolescents. Her passion was always for forensic psychiatry. What keeps her interested, is what she can offer these kids, even for a short period of time – considering the backgrounds many of them have–the experiences they have had to endure.
Christine is a Doulas College grad (2007). She did her preceptorship at Maples and then subsequently got hired on as full–time line nurse.
Christine shared that her own kids are 4 and 8 years old. She said that, in a reflective way, things for her are kind–of reciprocal; she looks at the troubled kids at work and this motivates Christine to give her children the love and care they need. But then also, she takes the positive experiences from home and tries to transport those to the children she works with at Maples–to recognize the potential that some of them may still have.
It is tough some days. Many kids come from violent environments and they have not learned coping strategies; so they perpetuate the violence themselves. It is sad to see. The violence in this area of practice has actually become more of a problem. The Maples was in the news recently because of this issue. In some cases, children have a long history of violence and would have charges of assault on their records. And often, these assaults have been towards caregivers. Later, when these kids are isolated from the general population for a time ... and they are observed, "You come to realize that even at 17 or 18 years of age, they have the insight of a 6 year–old." They have never been given any coping tools. Or it could be that they learned at an early age, that violence has a pay–off–even if the reward is negative. When nurses conduct histories on some of these children, they find out that the kids were given nothing to start life with. Some of them have mothers who basically lived on the street, or worked in prostitution …and the fathers are rarely known by them.
Christine says she has been at the Maples for a number of years now, but stays because she "is still learning." She mused that she may look at changing jobs in the future but for now, she believes she "has something to offer these kids."
One of the frustrations of the job is that there clearly isn’t sufficient funding for programs–but also for basic necessities such as furniture and safety equipment. This is a provincial facility and one that accepts referrals globally. However, Christine explained that even such basics as the couches the kids sit on, are in serious disrepair. And until very recently, staff did not have personal alarms or radios in case of trouble. For years, staff had requested simple but effective communication devices such as radios. They were repeatedly told "there's no budget for it." Christine related a somewhat humorous but poignant anecdote: a call came in from Victoria via the union, asking if Maples has cameras and asking if they have radio equipment or panic alarms. The government official wanted to verify this because the legislative assembly was in session and they said: "We want to bring this up during question period." The issue was put on the assembly floor and the next day, staff at the Maples got their panic alarms and security guards.
UPN WELCOMES six NEW SITES TO THE MEMBERSHIP
The UPN is pleased to note that six sites that were represented by HSA have now overwhelmingly voted in favour of becoming members of the UPN.
We would like to thank all of those who supported us on this decision and to extend a warm welcome to you as new members of our Union. We want to assure you that we are here to represent you and to listen to what you have to say about your profession, your work environment and your aspirations as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse.
We are planning to visit these worksites in the near future so that we can get better acquainted and to discuss the needs of these members. We are also planning to hold Steward Training sessions in January to better enable members to know their rights and how to advocate for them.
We have several other worksites that are awaiting results of their votes. We hope to provide you with more good news in the near future. Once again, thank you for your support and welcome to the UPN.
Educational opportunities fund returns.
UPN is pleased to announce the return of the Educational Opportunities Fund. Bursaries from this fund are used for the clinical education of nurses and include the upgrading of nursing skills. All active UPN members are eligible to apply for this funding. The current maximum that will be paid out to an individual annually is $4,000.
UPN Welcomes all RPNs
The Union of Psychiatric Nurses of British Columbia would like to extend a warm welcome to our counterparts at HSA and offer you the opportunity to be part of a professional union that supports and unites ONLY Registered Psychiatric Nurses. Uniting RPNs in a strong, profession–focussed union will strengthen our profession's ability to negotiate better contracts and practice conditions while advocating for improved mental health and addictions care in British Columbia.
The UPN is the only Registered Psychiatric Nursing union in Canada. It's a fact that no one can understand and advocate for RPNs better than other RPNs. The Union of Psychiatric Nurses has been doing just that since 1965. Our roots reach back even further, to September 4th, 1947, when the first Psychiatric Nurses' Association in Canada was formed here in British Columbia.
Click HERE to print/read new information pamphlet
HSA Members click HERE.
Any Questions? Forward your questions to joinnow@ telus.net
"Turning the spotlite on our members"
In the coming weeks and months the website and Spotlite Magazine will showcase some of UPN's front–line practitioners by telling their stories and highlighting what a unique group of care professionals RPN's are. This month we are "turning the Spotlite" on Christine Brisebois RPN. Do you know an RPN who deserves to have the Spotlite focussed on them? If you do, send your recommendation along to Yves Chinnapen, Chair, UPN Communications Committee for consideration.