THUNDER BAY — Facing a shortage of nurses, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre will recruit some personal support workers to help take care of patients.
It's the first time the hospital has done this.
Approximately 15 full-time-equivalent PSWs are expected to start work by the end of February or beginning of February.
A hospital spokesperson told TBNewswatch none of the PSWs will replace a nursing position.
He described the initiative as a temporary measure that's being implemented as a trial.
The hospital plans to revisit the use of PSWs after six months.
No official was available for an interview, but TBRHSC provided a statement referring to the nation-wide nursing shortage exacerbated by pandemic-related stress that's caused more sick leaves.
It said the hospital is nonetheless trying to move back toward normal operations, and is currently using more nurses than it has ever employed before.
The statement provided this overview of the work the PSWs will perform:
PSWs work as a member of the interprofessional health care team. They are trained to assist in the identification of relevant patient information using basic assessment and communication skills, assist patients with routine activities of daily living, applying basic knowledge of growth and development, common alterations in functioning, disease prevention, health promotion and maintenance, rehabilitation and restorative care.
The hospital said adding PSWs to its staff will allow nurses to focus on acute patient needs while ensuring the basic needs of patients are met.
It was announced last week that staff members at TBRHSC and all other hospitals in Northwestern Ontario will lose their jobs if they are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Feb. 11, 2022.