Province proposes increased support for front-line nurses
The Government of Ontario is proposing to give front-line nurses the same support as police officers, firefighters and paramedics suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).As announced Wednesday (Dec. 6), the Province is proposing an increase in first responder support to include all front-line nurses providing direct patient care and suffering from PTSD. The proposal would affect as many as 140,000 nurses across Ontario, expediting their access to benefits, resources and timely treatment through the implementation of a presumption that PTSD is work-related.

“During the course of our working lives, nurses witness and experience numerous critical and traumatizing incidents and events,” said Linda Haslam-Stroud, Registered Nurse and President of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, in a release.

“We congratulate the government for acknowledging this reality by proposing to include nurses in the legislative PTSD presumption.”

According to the release from the Province, front-line nurses who are first responders are more likely to suffer PTSD. With the new proposed presumption, a front-line nurse diagnosed with PTSD by a psychiatrist or psychologist will experience an expedited WSIB claims process. Furthermore, nurses will not be required to prove a causal link between PTSD and a workplace event.

“All nurses who provide direct patient care who suffer from PTSD would have easy access to the benefits they need,” says Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

“Nurses, along with others in first response professions, are often the last people to ask for help as their focus is on the care and well-being of others. It is our responsibility to care for those who selflessly commit their lives and safety to help millions of people across the province.”

PTSD, according to the Province, involves “clinically significant distress and impairment to functioning” as well as the development of symptoms such as painful flashbacks, nightmares, outbursts, thoughts of suicide and feelings of worry, guilt or sadness, following exposure to one or more traumatic events.

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