B.C. nurses gathered for a vigil Monday evening in Victoria and plan to return Tuesday for a rally to demand the province address the health-care crisis.
The BC Nurses Union (BCNU) hosted the Vigil to Heal Health Care May 9 as an opportunity for nurses, first responders and family members to share in their grief and reflect on the impact of the last few years on communities and the health-care system.
Nurses are using their voices on National Nursing Week to highlight problems impacting their mental health and patient care, the union said in a news release.
Nurses don’t feel like celebrating National Nursing Week, according to union president Aman Grewal.
“Instead, hundreds have travelled to Victoria from communities across the province with a sombre message that the health-care system is buckling under the pressure. Enough is enough. We need action now,” Grewal said.
BCNU numbers show 82 per cent of members surveyed last year said their mental health has worsened over the pandemic.
“The act of holding a dying patient’s hand while they lay intubated and alone or balancing an iPad so family members can say their final goodbyes is something that stays with you,” said Grewal. “It’s had a profound impact on our members, and they are not allowed to share this reality openly.”
Staffing concerns, working conditions and patient care will be top of mind on Tuesday afternoon as nurses take their message to the provincial government with a rally on the steps of the B.C. legislature.
The rally starts at noon at the Empress Hotel with nurses expected to arrive at the legislature around 12:15 p.m.
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