Call for Slowdown of Surgeries as Nurses Recuperate from Pandemic


The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is calling for a slowdown on the resumption of medical services across the province to give nurses a chance to recuperate.

The President and CEO of Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare Janice Kaffer also weighed in on the matter and agrees the nursing workforce is burned out.

According to the RNAO, many have been working for 17 months without any reprieve due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's bigger than the nurse burnout situation," says Kaffer. "It's across all health care professionals and here at Hotel-Dieu Grace, as a rehab facility, what we're seeing is real issues with absences, sick call ins and vacancies that we're having difficulty filling across all of our professional groups," she says.

Kaffer agrees, medical staff need a rest, adding  "The main concern we're seeing is the upswing and the amount of time we're seeing in that episodic of short-term or "I'm just too tired to go to work today" kind of sick time," she says. "That's happening considerably more this summer than we've seen in past summers."

Looking ahead, Kaffer belives this is an issue that needs to be further discussed.

"We're approaching a fourth wave," she says. "Some individuals in Ontario have already said we're in a fourth wave already and the health care professionals across all hospital sectors, long-term care, retirements homes, everywhere, are tired," she explains. "If we're not paying attention to that fact that the workforce tired, it's an issue."

Kaffer adds that the problem became especially evident this past weekend when the hospital was short staffed due to several absences and sick leaves.


— With files from Patty Handysides