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BC Nurses' Union Convention kicks off with strong message to new government

  • Bulletin
President says nurses will hold newly elected government to account on a number of key issues such as addressing ongoing violence and the provincial nursing shortage

As nurses from communities across BC gather in Vancouver to attend this year’s annual Convention, the BC Nurses’ Union is demanding that newly elected MLAs keep their focus on the ongoing issues impacting health care, including a chronic nursing shortage, continued violence in health care facilities and the opioid crisis.

President Gayle Duteil says it’s no coincidence that this year’s convention is starting the same week as a new province-wide television commercial which features the risks associated with community nursing.

"In the first phase of our public outreach on violence prevention and awareness, BCNU's ads highlighted the realities of violence in an emergency room and in a residential care setting. These ads didn’t shy away from the reality of the problem and it was received extremely well by nurses and the public. This latest commercial highlights the dangers community nurses experience," says Duteil. "Quite often, they are expected to do home visits and have no way of alerting someone if a patient or situation turns violent."

Nurses’ safety was a key issue throughout the provincial election campaign with over 150 candidates from all three parties signing a BCNU candidate pledge vowing to promote violence-free workplaces for nurses.

"We are pleased 51 of 87 elected MLAs who signed our candidate pledge were elected and we look forward to working with them to address the calls for change from both nurses and the public," says Duteil.

A recent poll conducted by the Mustel Group found 9 out of 10 members of the public hold the position that violence is not part of a nurse’s job.

Duteil’s opening speech to over five hundred nurses also addressed the critical shortage of nurses in the province, and the difficulties that come with providing safe patient care in health care facilities that are full to the brim with patients.

"Nurses need more support. It’s time our voices are heard," says Duteil. "Enough is enough. British Columbians spoke out during the recent election and we all know that the current conditions aren’t good enough. It’s time for something to change."

For more information, please contact Katharine Kitts, BCNU Communications at 604-220-9815 or kkitts@bcnu.org.

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