Nursing Graduates Address Letter to Premier
Letter to Quebec Premier François Legault and his entire extraordinary team.
On behalf of the next generation of nurses.
Mr. Legault, your press briefing on April 15 at 1:00
pm made me fall off my chair, just as it did many of my colleagues.
Personally, it made me lose confidence in the way you are managing this
crisis in the Long-Term Care Facilities (CHSLDs) and even in the
consideration you have for the nursing vocation. Are you panicking?
Because in hearing how you talk, you seem to be
forgetting that Quebec has a significant quantity of competent staff
actually waiting to help and who have graciously been offering to
assist since the start of the pandemic.
Mr. Premier, do you know how many graduates we have in
health and nursing that are qualified to provide the care you are
appealing for in the CHSLDs?
Factually, Mr. Legault, there are indeed many. And they
already have more training than nursing assistants and orderlies.
Beginning in May, as soon as their graduation is official, they will
become candidates for the nursing profession and will perform the
duties of registered nurses in our communities while waiting to pass
their Quebec Order
of Nurses' (OIIQ) examination in the fall.
Do you know what all this beautiful, cheap and healthy workforce is doing right now and will be doing for the next four weeks?
Taking improvised online courses, too often of poor
quality. Doing online internship work, which in no way compensates for
the essential experience that come with a real internship. All this
under appalling conditions of social inequality, without any coherence
between educational establishments. To boot, they have no guarantee of
as planned in May, as their professional order (OIIQ) has yet to
validate or plan anything official that will allow them to access the
profession at the beginning of May (due to the cancellation of the
final internship of their 3-year advanced education training).
In addition, you are currently urging their teachers to abandon them to join the CHSLDs, obliged under force majeure, seriously threatening their already uncertain graduation.
Mr. Premier, if the situation is so critical and now
requires asking medical specialists with salaries beyond the system's
means, who do not have the qualifications to practice as nurses, to go
to the CHSLDs, would it not be time to do like many other countries and
consider our nursing graduates?
With all due respect, Mr. Premier, you appear to have
the mistaken and awkward belief that the work of a nurse is beneath,
rather than parallel and complementary to that of a doctor. As if a
doctor had to master training as a nurse before being able to become a
doctor. As if at university, that after studying nursing one continues
on with accredited courses into medical school. Unfortunately, besides
being degrading for the nursing profession, your perception is
completely false and out of touch with reality.
Contrary to what you said during the previous press
briefing, most of our doctors are not "overqualified" for the job, but
untrained for the position. Most of them do not know how to take a
blood sample, insert a catheter, perform ostomy care, apply specialized
dressings, etc., or almost any nursing skills acquired after at least
three years of solid training, combined with internship experience to
master them. Unlike our graduates in care giving and nursing, for the
most part they never learned to master the methods of safely moving
patients according to [the established guidelines].
With your plan, which has become the subject of a lot of
talk, you are using taxpayer money, our money, to pay doctors an
exorbitant stipend even though they'll be doing at most only half of
the work that nurses do. You cannot expect that they will be able to do
much more than that with their valuable medical skills. For the vast
them do not even know how to install and adjust an intravenous infusion
And of course that's to be expected because it's not
their job, they haven't learned how to do it. Their essential
skills lie elsewhere. You would not ask nurses to do the work of
doctors. Well, it's the same thing. This hierarchy of health
professions is a stubborn social prejudice. Please, Mr. Premier, do not
feed that prejudice which is at
the base of the faulty remuneration of our health professionals and the
lack of recognition of these valuable professions within the system. Do
not act as the vehicle of these false beliefs of another era.
I ask of you Mr. Legault, Mr. Premier and all your
team, that for the sake of the safety of all our patients and cherished
elders, for the sake of efficiency and out of respect for the
nursing profession, which is not the basis for the profession of
physician but, indeed, a full-fledged complete profession parallel and
complementary to medicine, and
so as not to place our valuable doctors in the awkward position of
having to admit that they do not have the skills required to
effectively replace a seasoned nurse, to consider the option of
requesting the assistance of our graduating nurses and in the process,
credit them for the 3-4 weeks of inconsistent and disconnected lessons
they are currently
being required to take online instead of responding to the current
Mr. Premier, give the CHSLDs the competent and efficient
workforce they expect while saving our money by limiting our expenses
and allowing our graduates and their professors to put their nursing
skills to good use -- a profession, a vocation, still too little
known and recognized.
Cordially and probably very awkwardly,
Graduating nurses of Quebec.
This article was published in
Number 25 - April 24, 2020
Quebec: Nursing Graduates Address Letter to Premier