Nurses: “Everyone is afraid to speak up”

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Nurses hired to prevent the dreadful shortage of staff brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, are undoubtedly frustrated. The pandemic, which compounded issues that already existed within the health care sector prior, has further overwhelmed health care sectors and the health care staff who are working endlessly to ensure that patients are properly taken care of. Members of the Public Services Association (PSA) employed at the St. James Medical Complex have today shared that the conditions they are working under are deplorable. The nurses, some of whom were recently hired, have stated that they are afraid to speak up, as they fear the repercussions that may follow. The nurses, in particular, stated that whilst they are grateful for their jobs, something must be done to protect the conditions under which they work.

Several nurses today reported to PSA media via phone interview that they are being forced to work at the Covid-19 units against their will. They stated that three to four months prior, they had been asked and given the option to work at the unit if they so chose. The staff indicated that whilst some agreed, some were hesitant because of their personal complications and predicaments. Now, nurses who resisted prior are being told that they are assigned to work at the unit that they once refused to work at.

The nurses shared that during their 8-hour shift in the Covid-19 unit, they are unable to use any washroom facilities, as there are no available washrooms for staff. Nurses reported that on this unit, washrooms were only allocated to patients. The staff also indicated that during this time they are unable to leave the unit for any personal reasons. The staff stated that they continue to be short-staffed and are extremely burnt out. They also reported that nurses, who agreed to work at the Covid-19 unit, were verbally promised $75 an hour, however to date, the nurses indicated that no such raise in pay was given.

The PSA represented by Susan P Gray is now addressing the matter and will be representing the PSA members that are under this distress.