March 25, 2020
We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the daily lives of all Canadians. Many of us are feeling anxious, especially given the situation on PEI over the past 10 days. But it’s you – the nurses, physicians, and other health care workers – who are at the forefront of the fight against this virus. Now more than ever, I want to acknowledge how much I value your education, skills, dedication and compassion as we work through this public health emergency together.
New evidence and information about the virus is emerging daily. Health officials on PEI like Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison and Chief Nursing Officer Marion Dowling are having to mount a robust response under challenging conditions. We urge all our members to follow their directions to help ensure the safety of your loved ones and the most vulnerable members of our community.
The strength of our health care system rests on all our health care providers: nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, cleaners, food service workers, and countless others. All of you are committed to treating patients and keeping our public safe. We all have a role to play in stemming the spread of the COVID-19.
PEINU has been in regular contact with your employer, Health PEI, to make sure your safety is top of mind. Our position is clear: your safety is not negotiable. Given that we still don’t know everything we need to know about this virus, we are urging the employer to err on the side of caution and provide our nurses the protective equipment they need. At the end of the day, you need to be empowered to exercise your professional judgment. If your point-of-care risk assessment tells you that you need a higher level of protection, the employer needs to respect that. You know best what you need to protect yourself.
I know many of you have important questions pertaining to how COVID-19 is affecting your work sites. Every day is different; every day brings new issues to light. But rest assured, we are talking with employers to stay make sure everyone is aware of the latest information. We are working collaboratively with our national union, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, as well as our local unions to ensure that the best practices, protocols, procedures and communication plans are implemented.
If you have any concerns about how COVID-19 is being handled in your workplace, please don’t hesitate to contact your union. The next few months will surely be challenging for all of us. When the going does get tough, please take a moment to remember how much all Canadians value your work, dedication and compassion – and, above all, be PROUD of what you do.
And know that no matter what, your union will be here to protect you.
Once again, than you for the unwavering care you provide Islanders.
Mona O’Shea RN, President