The resignation of the acute charge nurse at the Tri-Lake Health Centre is the last in a recent rash of resignations that has left the hospital short-staffed and has some pointing the finger directly at management in the facility for the problem.
Speaking under anonymity, two former employees at the centre in Killarney said administration has cultivated a “toxic work environment” that has led to the resignations and consequent staff shortages.
“Many employees — nurses, aides, and others — are leaving or have left due to belligerent management and ignorance on the part of the (Prairie Mountain Health region),” one former employee said. “Staff is being bullied, harassed and belittled daily — many leaving in tears, taking sick time and stress leave.”
Another former employee said the problem has existed in Killarney for a decade.
“Money has been funneled into administration and emergency services and taken out of front-line nursing and nurses don’t want to work that way,” the ex-employee said. “Nurses focus on quality of care and when you don’t feel you’re administration is on the same page, it makes it tough to continue.”
Both said that there are nurses in the community and surrounding area that could fill the vacant positions, but they would rather drive considerable distances to work at other facilities in Westman due to Tri-Lake’s management.
The centre is now only staffing 14 beds, compared to the normal 22 due to the staff shortage.
Prairie Mountain Health region CEO Penny Gilson said that agency nurses are being used to curb the shortages.
“It’s to the extent that we are not able to staff all of the beds in the Killarney health centre, but we staff as many as we can depending on how much staff we have and safe levels of care,” Gilson said.
The Prairie Mountain Health region remains committed to using all of its resources and a multi-prong recruiting effort to fill the full- and part-time positions at Tri-Lake, but in some cases it comes down to supply and demand, Gilson said.
“We have to keep up relentless efforts to get the nurses that we need working in the areas that we need them. We certainly try to put the notice out there across the province that we have needs, again, it depends on where people want to work.”
She also said that nurses travelling to work in other hospitals isn’t out of the ordinary.
“That’s very common,” Gilson said. “We have nurses in many communities that drive to another community to work depending on the type of work that they want, the shifts that they might want.”
“Nurses have many opportunities so they look for the opportunity that best suits them and it may not be in the community that they are from.”
Gilson chose not to comment on the administrative problems suggested by the former employees at the centre, but did say it’s not uncommon for those types of “rumours” to exist in a situation where there is staff shortages.
“There are many positive things happening in the Tri-Lake Health Centre in Killarney and that doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges, which we continue, at many sites, to work through,” Gilson said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 23, 2013