Disappointment for not being included in pandemic pay


We have received a number of communications expressing concern regarding the restrictions on pandemic pay to certain groups. Here is a letter from RNAO member Leslie Wight expressing disappointment for not being included in pandemic pay:

As an RN in the role of Health Care Manager at the Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre, I provide guidance and leadership to nursing staff within the health care unit. My office is located within the Health Care unit, and I work side by side with the nurses on a regular basis. With 32 years of nursing experience, I am called upon to provide consultation on complex patients, to investigate concerns brought forward by the Ombudsman, to demonstrate and teach procedures, and to ensure that quality patient care is delivered. This work is not unique to Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre and is common to all Health Care Managers across the province.

With many of our physicians choosing to work from home during the pandemic and preferring to provide care via OTN, I have remained on the front line and have been instrumental in ensuring that nursing staff are adequately trained to support this new technology. It is not unusual for the physician to call upon my expertise when seeing patients via OTN to ensure required assessments are performed when the MD cannot be present to provide hands on care.

Planning for the pandemic has doubled the workload of the Health Care Manager in a currently understaffed and under resourced setting. Contingency planning generally relies on the Health Care Manager’s providing front line care when nursing staff are not available. On regular basis I am called upon to assist with a variety of front-line duties in addition to my leadership duties. This involves spending time in the intake unit and isolation unit providing support and guidance to both officers and nurses on best practices with infection control and the use of Personal Protective Equipment. It is not unusual for me to be in an isolation cell with a patient that is being monitored for the COVID virus and working with the nurses to provide optimal care during this very difficult time. 

I am an extremely dedicated, caring, knowledgeable professional who is working very diligently to prevent and treat illness with our most vulnerable citizens; however, have been grossly overlooked in the pandemic pay initiative.

Sincerely, Leslie Wight, RN

RNAO response: Thanks for writing, Leslie. There is no question that clinical nurse managers, working on the frontlines of care anywhere, should be included in pandemic pay. RNAO has expressed this clearly and forcefully to government, and we will continue to do so.