Windsor nurse wants province to look closer to home when bringing health-care professionals to Ontario

·2 min read
Celeste Pane is a registered nurse with 30 years of experience. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)
Celeste Pane is a registered nurse with 30 years of experience. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)

A Windsor nurse says she wants to do more to help fight COVID-19 in hot spot areas — and that the provincial government could look closer to home when it comes to filling health-care positions in the province.

When the third wave of COVID-19 began hitting Ontario hard, the province scrambled to get proper care into hotspot areas, looking far and and abroad to help staff the crisis.

The Canadian Armed Forces were called in to help. Even Newfoundland and Labrador sent a team over to Ontario to do the same.

But for registered nurse Celeste Pane, there were resources in Ontario that were left untapped — closer to home.

"I'm saying, 'If you need help, Premier Ford, look in your own backyard," said Pane. "We're here."

With 30 years of experience in the field under her belt, Pane applied for work through the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario — but never heard back. Pane said she also wrote to an official at Windsor Regional Hospital's Met campus and her MPPs.

"There's a whole other avenue if these hospitals are desperate for help," said Pane, adding she believes there are others like herself locally who are willing to lend a hand.

The province says more than 28,000 people have used its matching portal that connects health care workers with employers in the field.
The province says more than 28,000 people have used its matching portal that connects health care workers with employers in the field.(CBC News)

"My main concern here is trying to be a liaison to get the nurses in the community to see which ones are available, because I'm trying to be an advocate here. "

In a statement, the provincial government said it has "put in place a number of health human resourcing initiatives to bolster the workforce."

"We have implementing a Health Workforce Matching Portal, which helps match workers with employers across the health system," said Alexandra Hilkene, secretary for Ontario's Ministry of Health Christine Elliott.

"Health-care professionals who are looking to help can register and apply through Ontario's Matching Portal."

Hilkens added that more than 28,000 people have applied for work through the system and 1,300 health system employers have used it — something Pane said she didn't know about.