Oct 20, 2012 / 6:00 am
More than 32,000 Registered nurses in the province have voted 85 per cent in favour of accepting a new two-year agreement.
The deal was reached between the province and BC Nurses Union last month.
"This contract is a big win for safe patient care and safe staffing," says nurses union president, Debra McPherson. "It will give nurses new tools to reduce heavy workloads and improve patient care by calling in nurses to replace those off sick or on vacation, improving nurses' job security and hiring the equivalent of 2,125 more nurses."
McPherson says the contract contains provisions that recognize and respect the clinical judgment of nurses on when to call in more nurses to meet the needs of patients.
"For the first time ever, health employers will be required to replace nurses who are off on leave from a scheduled shift, unless there are extenuating circumstances determined by the front-line nurse in charge and the manager."
She says the criteria to call in more nurses will be to meet the needs of patients, not budget.
Health Minister, Margaret MacDiarmid says high quality patient care is a shared priority of government and nurses.
MacDiarmid adds the contract is one of the first to reflect the fact we are going to see unique settlements in every sector and with each employer.
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