HEU's practical nurses and care aides to play active role in May 8-14 national nursing week

News release

"Get active!" is the theme of national nursing week across Canada May 8 to 14, and thatís exactly what licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and care aides will be doing to both advocate for health promotion and to highlight the important role they play as part of the nursing team in B.C. hospitals and health care facilities. An important part of the nursing team in B.C.'s health care system, LPN and care aide activists will be undertaking a number of special activities during the week including: ? blood pressure clinics in malls; ? high school presentations about the importance of preventative health measures and to encourage students to look at nursing as a career path; ? photo displays and information tables in health care facilities; ? special information sessions for municipal politicians and administrators. Many of these activities are joint efforts with registered nurses who are members of the B.C. Nurses' Union. "All direct care providers are part of the nursing team," says Chris Allnutt, secretary-business manager for the Hospital Employees' Union, which represents care aides and LPNs. "We need to work together to provide high-quality cost effective care, and to develop creative solutions that will address the severe nursing shortage and promote progressive health reform." Allnutt says that Victoria has provided more than $10 million for a variety of training measures and new LPN and care aide positions in the system. In addition, government recently announced a 28 per cent increase in training seats at B.C. colleges, including additional funding to allow care aides to train as LPNs. HEU represents 4,000 LPNs, and more than 9,000 care aides who provide the bulk of hands-on care looking after seniors in long-term care facilities across the province. HEUís nursing team members also include rehab and activation assistants, who work to improve the daily lives of seniors and people with disabilities across the province.