Legislation introduced today, March 15, will create the new Nova Scotia College of Nursing – a single regulatory body for the nursing profession in the province.
Nursing is a self-regulated profession. Right now, there are two regulatory bodies – The College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia and The College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia. The new act will see the two merge, a request from the profession itself.
“Nurses provide essential and expert care in hospitals, family practices and communities across the province,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “A single College of Nursing will continue to regulate the profession and protect public interest, while being nimble to meet evolving health care needs.”
The Nursing Act will bring together registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses.
“The new Nursing Act is an innovative approach to nursing regulation in our province,” said Sue Smith, College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia transition executive director and College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia CEO. “It enables nurses to work to their optimal scopes of practice, helps reduce red tape, and epitomizes the kind of collaboration among health professionals that is necessary for Nova Scotians, and the future of health care in this province.”
The new Nursing Act will:
— maintain existing nursing designations, scopes of practice, and entry-to-practice requirements
— enable the college to expand scopes of practice for individual licensed practical nurses and registered nurses, with additional education within the overall scope of nursing
— remove the requirement for nurse practitioners to establish a formal relationship with a physician before they can practice
— allow the regulator more flexibility to grant temporary and conditional licenses
— expand the power to impose fines as a disciplinary measure to include professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming
— enhance the requirement for the College to be more accountable and transparent to government, the public and nurses
More than 4,000 stakeholders provided feedback throughout the development of the Nursing Act.
There are approximately 15,000 nurses licensed to practice in Nova Scotia.
The situation at the Halifax Infirmary emergency department has reached a boiling point, as nurses’ pleas to call “Code Orange” (a special alert usually reserved for incidents with mass casualties) were denied on Wednesday evening.
At one point, 99 patients were in the department, with just three doctors on rotation and three fewer RNs than required. By 4 a.m., 42 patients left the emergency department without being seen by a doctor.
“This is simply unsafe for everyone: patients and workers,” said NSGEU President Jason MacLean, “The Premier cannot continue to ignore this health care crisis.”
The unsafe conditions at the HI site on Wednesday are outlined clearly in a Clinical Capacity Report that was submitted by nurses on duty that evening. A Clinical Capacity Report is a workload measurement tool used by nurses. Some of the most concerning items noted in this report were:
Seven critically ill patients in pod #2 (trauma beds), who required one-on-one nursing, and just four RNs on duty;
Five additional high-acuity patients who normally would have remained in pod #2 had to be shifted to pod #3 & 4 (an area where new nurses who haven’t been fully orientated to the ED are normally assigned);
There were 9+ ambulances full of 85- to 95-year-old patients in the ambulance holding area with paramedics, pulled from around the province, waiting for 12+ hours;
Cobequid, Hants, and Digby hospitals were all trying to transfer patients to the HI ED, and the Dartmouth General had to send a very sick patient;
Cobequid was again forced to stay open overnight because patients had to be held.
“The nurses who were on duty dealing with this chaos had no breaks and no food during their 12-hour shift,” added President MacLean.
“It is unacceptable that our health care workers are being treated this way. They are the ones on the front lines, trying to keep the lid on a system that is about to boil over.”
Source : Media Release