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Unifor thanks nurses for quality care and support during pandemic

May 8, 2020 - 12:00 AM

May 11, 2020

TORONTO - Unifor stands with workers across the country and around the globe in recognizing and celebrating the outstanding contributions of nurses through the release of a report highlighting the contribution of RPNs and LPNs during National Nursing Week May 11 - 17, 2020.

"Nurses across the country need our support and solidarity amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Nurses, along with all health care workers, are on the front line, battling the deadly virus each day. The work of RPNs and LPNs is invaluable in providing care for Canadians at all hours of the day.”

Unifor, SEIU and CUPE commissioned an independent, academic research study on the role RPNs within high functioning nurse teams in the acute care sector. “The Role of Nurses in High Functioning Teams in Acute Care Settings” report aims to provide a snapshot of the evolving and critical role of RPNs in hospitals.

“This report reveals the need for RPNs in our hospital settings. It shows that the integration of RPNs within a health care team is positive and is even more successful when there is organizational support for this structure,” said Dias.

The report further explains how the RPN role in Ontario has changed and expanded over time – both in their educational requirements and scope of practice.

RPNs and LPNs work with Registered Nurses in high-functioning teams to provide patient care in hospitals, long-term care homes and in communities. They receive specialized training and education and continue to show Canadians the vital role they play in our health care system.

“As a union, our commitment to improving the working conditions of health care workers has been a priority prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be after the pandemic has ended. We need provincial governments to immediately correct the wrongdoings of the past and invest in health care,” said Katha Fortier, who is also a nurse and is Assistant to National President, and responsible for health care at Unifor.

National Nurses Week was established to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s contribution to the field of medicine. Nightingale is often credited as the founder of modern nursing, as she is responsible for many of the standards that are required of present-day nurses, including strict handwashing and hygiene practices.

This year the World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the year of the Nurse and of the Midwife.

Unifor represents more than 30,000 health care workers including, 5000 nurses.

Information about the union's response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at unifor.org/COVID19.

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype or Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Hamid Osman at hamid.osman@unifor.org or 647-448-2823 (cell).