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N.B. hospital struggles with staff shortage after 3 nurses fired

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N.B. hospital struggling after 3 nurses fired
New Brunswick's French language health network has fired three employees from a hospital in Kent County. But as Suzanne Lapointe reports, the rural hospital was already struggling to function due to staffing shortages. – Jun 12, 2024

New Brunswick’s French-language health network has fired three nurses following an investigation into an “incident,” which has led to a nurse shortage at the rural hospital and forced the closure of its ER.

According to the Vitalité Health Network, the firings came after an internal investigation involving employees at the Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, N.B.

“Additional corrective measures have been taken, although we cannot disclose the details for personal record confidentiality reasons, and we are currently evaluating further improvement measures,” a statement from the health network read.

The Nurses Association of New Brunswick told Global News there are three circumstances that require its involvement, according to the Nurses Act:

  • Any nurse is obligated to report to NANB if they have reason to believe that another nurse is unable to function safely to such an extent that it would be in the public interest for conditions, limitations, or restrictions to be imposed on the other nurse’s practice.
  • Any nurse is obligated to report to NANB if they have reasonable grounds to believe that another health professional has sexually abused a patient or client.
  • Employers (or anyone who engages a nurse by means other than employment) are obligated to report to NANB if they terminate a nurse for reasons of incompetence or incapacity.
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The association is unable to comment on specific investigations or cases where a decisions has not been made. Suspensions, revocations, conditions, restrictions and limitations will be made public on the association’s website.

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Emergency room closure

Meanwhile, the hospital’s emergency room was temporarily closed Tuesday evening due to a staffing shortage.

All 20 of the acute care beds are being used for palliative care and long-term care.

Patients who need acute care will have to travel to Moncton, which is a concern for residents.

“Sometimes things can happen in the middle of the night, especially near the area near Saint-Anne. The people have to wake up and be in a stress and go to Moncton,” resident Anne-Marie Guimond said.

Fellow resident Joseph Cormier said patients being forced to make the hour-long drive to Moncton was troubling.

“I wish it would be open all the time. There’s no reason for that, have to go all the way to Moncton.”

Vitalité Health Network has hired an emergency physician, who will begin working at the hospital in September, as well as a family doctor who will join the team in January 2025

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