Summary of LPN townhall meeting discussions
By Barbara Cape
Through the course of October and November, SEIU-West Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) met to discuss concerns about the SUN interference with the SALPN bylaw review process; the role of the Ministry of Health in regulatory review; and discussion about the work being done with SEIU-West and SALPN on behalf of LPNs.
The meetings in Moose Jaw and Swift Current were very well attended; however, our meetings held in Saskatoon and Biggar had fewer attendees.
SEIU-West executive board members, staff reps, Directors, and the President, Vice-President or Treasurer of SEIU-West all took a strong interest in attending these meetings. Individual examples of challenges and difficulties were addressed; pro-active strategies to deal with workplace bullying and harassment were discussed with direction on how to manage these issues in the workplace. We also talked about having a great deal of caution in posting any issues or replying to any comments on social media forums (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc) related to SUN or RN perspectives on this matter. We talked about what SEIU-West and our Nursing Care Committee has been doing to address this issue and promote the role of LPNs as a valued member of the nursing team.
SEIU-West has been in close contact with SGEU and CUPE about these issues to ensure that we have a similar approach to communication on this matter. As well, SEIU-West has been in regular contact with the Executive Director of SALPN to share concerns, strategies and jointly provide support for the work, skill and education that LPN ‘s bring to the provision of health c are, whether it is rural, urban, private or public, acute, homecare or long-term care. SEIU-West was invited to be a part of the committee participating in the review of the bylaws and regulations that govern the LPN scope of practise.
In addition, after the LPN town hall meetings, we met with the Ministry of Health, SHR, FHHR, CHR, and HHR during our Tri-Partite Partnership meeting to advise of our members concerns, and ask what they intended to do to show their support for the work of the LPN and a collaborative team nursing practise. Ultimately, the Ministry of Health and all of the regional health authorities at that meeting, issued open letters to all the nursing staff indicating their support and respect for the skill that all members of the nursing team provide.
The work being done by SALPN on the regulatory review is intended to simply set out exactly what LPN’s are trained to do now – because the education of a LPN has continued to expand over the last 15 years. These regulations also seek to set out how a LPN who has additional skills or competencies is regulated in his or her practise as a LPN. This work is continuing under a facilitated discussion model involving Dr. Dennis Kendel who was appointed by the Ministry of Health.
SEIU-West seeks to support and promote all members of the nursing team. We believe that this is a foundational issue that needs to be addressed through additional education supports(whether that is resources to attend a course or opportunities to receive in-house training); expanded training seats at Sask Polytechnical (formerly SIAST) & regional colleges; and respect and recognition of the evolving nature of health care and all members of the health care team.
To do this, we have language in our collective agreements; we have lobbied with a group of LPN’s with the Minister of Health; we have promoted all members of the health care team via our purple works website; we have engaged with and built a relationship with SALPN, including attending AGM and Education Day; and we have conducted these LPN townhall meetings in each health region.
SEIU-West remains open to further strategies. We welcome your ideas on how to build stronger nursing teams and ensure that the role of all health care providers is respected. Please do not hesitate to share them.