Sask. nurses in dispute over roles of LPNs vs. RNs

By Sarah Mills
May 4, 2016 - 3:14pm

The question of who does what at the patient bedside is causing a rift within the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association (SRNA).

Controversial new bylaws accepted by the provincial government detail the expanded role licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are playing within health care.

A special public meeting for the SRNA was held in Regina Friday which saw registered nurses (RNs) come to the microphone and detail examples of where patient-safety was endangered. It was often caused by confusion about the difference between RNs and LPNs.

Increasingly, RNs are frustrated that more LPNs are being hired to do the work of RNs who have more education.

The SRNA is a professional disciplinary body, but plays a role in promoting the work and role of the RNs.

Many at the meeting suggested the SRNA is failing in that responsibility, and a motion put forward by Maggie Hancock called for the president and executive to be removed from office. It carried 228 to 197, with 37 abstaining, but the motion held no weight because it was ruled out of order.

That didn't surprise Hancock, who simply wants something done.

"We've been fighting this fight for a long time, we have gone to our association, time and time again and we have gotten nowhere," she said at the end of the meeting.

At its annual general meeting (AGM) in Regina Tuesday, the SRNA council released a statement stating they have heard the concerns from members.

"We have heard that we need to do better," said SRNA President, Linda Wasco-Lacey. "We all understand we need to do some things differently."

Waco Lacey adds she wants members more engaged and involved in the bylaws as they are drafted with government.


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