Show compassion, says president of Yukon nurses association

·2 min read
Whitehorse General Hospital. Nurses provide care to all patients no matter what decision they've made. The head of the Yukon nurses association said nurses should be shown the same compassion by patients. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)
Whitehorse General Hospital. Nurses provide care to all patients no matter what decision they've made. The head of the Yukon nurses association said nurses should be shown the same compassion by patients. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)

Nurses need to be shown the same compassion they're providing their patients, says the head of Yukon Registered Nurses Association.

Amaris Poznikoff said nurses are experiencing violence at work just like physicians and "it is absolutely unacceptable."

Earlier this week, Dr. Ryan Warshawski, the head of the Yukon Medical Association, said tensions over COVID-19 vaccines were leading to violence at the Whitehorse General Hospital, and that he'd heard about two incidents in the past week where patients had become violent with their doctors over COVID-19 issues.

Poznikoff, who is based in Dawson City, said she's heard similar stories from nurses across the territory.

"I think what we're seeing right now is this wide spectrum of anti-vax and violence," said Poznikoff, adding the two issues are not always tied together.

Premier Sandy Silver said at a Wednesday news conference that violence against health care workers was "absolutely unacceptable and it needs to stop."

'It's scary and it's sad'

Poznikoff said nurses, just like patients and other health care workers, are tired.

"I think we all hoped that this wasn't going to still be happening 20 months later," she said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said part of the reason nurses and other health care workers are tired is that while they're providing "safe and compassionate care" to all patients, they're also seeing the impacts of people making their own decisions.

She said the majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the country are related to unvaccinated individuals.

"And it's scary and it's sad," she said.

Two-way compassion

She said what nurses and other health care professionals need is to be shown the same compassion they're showing patients, and "less of what [patients] believe or what choice you're going to make."

"[Nurses] are not there to be punching bags. They're there to support you," she said. "They're there to give you information and educate you, and they're going to take care of you in the hospital, regardless of what your decision has been along this pandemic."

She said nurses also have to take the time to take care of their own mental and physical health.

"We say it all the time, but I don't think we're that great at it," Poznikoff said.

"We also are surviving on multiple cups of coffee in the morning, just like everybody else."

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