Profile: Jerry Macdonald, RN, was an intensive care nurse at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie prior to transferring his nursing skills to a community-based cardiac rehabilitation program. With over 30 years of nursing experience, Macdonald has also represented registered nurses as president of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA), as a United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) executive board member, and as president of the Grande Prairie UNA local. Macdonald makes plain that his choice to transition out of hospital nursing after years of high stress represents a form of nursing attrition that is unfortunately overlooked. In his opinion, stressful and problematic realities of the workplace have developed from the increasing acuity of patients, use of non-nursing management, staff shortages, and workload demands. He also laments that the resulting chaos makes it difficult for established hospital nurses to provide more than token mentorship to new graduates to bridge the shock from classroom learning to the brutal realities of hospital work in an age of endless cuts. Macdonald is grateful that UNA’s mandate goes beyond basic wage and benefit negotiation, and that they advocate for a public healthcare system in which staffing levels and organizational considerations ensure the nurses’ professional responsibility to ensure quality patient care is protected.
Keywords: Community nursing; Nursing attrition; Nursing management; Nursing mentorship; Nursing shortage; Patient acuity; Public healthcare; Rural nursing; Stress in Workplace.
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