danger pay

  1. I just heard that the four Toronto hospitals designated for the care of SARS patients will be paying the nurses working with SARS patients danger pay at the rate of double their usual salary.
    I know it is early yet in the designation of this pay but is this fair? The critical care unit I work in has taken care of SARS patients from day one and currently our SARS floor and all of our negitive pressure isolation rooms are full with critically ill patients who are designated as suspect SARS. My hospital wasn't on the list of hospitals receiving danger pay. For that matter neither was several other hospitals which are designated level 2 with nurses who are still quarantined. Many of the nurses who are hospitalized with SARS didn't work in the SARS area, they didn't percieve themselves to be at risk yet they were more at risk than anyone else. Is this designation of danger pay fair?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    I don't think it's really fair, but I understand the necessity of attracting nurses to work on these units.

    I personally don't think danger pay is really fair in any area of nursing. I don't really like anything in nursing which gives the message that some nurses' work is worth more than others. Every area of nursing is dangerous (you'd think the fact that most of the nurses who got SARS in this latest outbreak were working a regular floor would prove that) so I don't see a point in it.
  4. by   healthyone
    i believe danger pay has existed on the quiet at some facilities since the onset of sars. i have a collegue who works at scar. grace who was earning danger pay back in march
  5. by   toronto rn
    I'm glad for the health care workers who will benefit from this but totally miffed that only a segregated few, out of the many who have risked their safety, will be recognized.

    From the Toronto Star
    SARS workers' pay to double
    Deal would pay full-time nurses roughly what temps are paid



    The Ontario government will cover the cost of doubling pay for health-care workers on SARS duty at four Toronto hospitals, Ontario Health Minister Tony Clement said today.

    Clement said the government supports the move to increase compensation for front-line workers but did not endorse requests from other health workers in hospitals dealing with severe acute respiratory system that they also get more money.

    "There's a lot of pressure right now," said Clement.

    "(But) if you're saying that the solution to SARS is to pay everyone double in the system, that isn't the solution."

    Clement said the four hospitals, which have formed an alliance to combat the SARS outbreak, are a "special case."

    "That has to be recognized as such and that has to be remunerated as such."

    Nurses combating SARS have been particularly unhappy that agency temps brought in to help in the fight are being paid at a premium.

    The new hospital deal would pay nurses at the top end of the salary scale about $66 an hour, roughly what the temporary nurses are being paid.

    "I'd rather have a full-time nurse than an agency nurse," said Clement.

    X-ray technicians and other staff who work with SARS patients or in SARS screening will also get the premium.

    The Ontario Nurses Association says the extra money is welcome but wants it paid to all nurses at risk of contracting SARS at work, even if they aren't working directly with SARS cases.

    The four hospitals are Scarborough General, North York General, St. Michael's and the Etobicoke site of William Osler Health Centre.

    All are part of a new alliance formed to handle the bulk of SARS cases in the new cluster discovered late last month.

    Clement's comments came as nurses gathered at Scarborough General to protest the province's handling of the outbreak. They have previously expressed concerns that they have not been adequately protected from contracting the illness.

    NDP Leader Howard Hampton, who attended the rally, said he will introduce a private member's bill in the provincial legislature in an effort to initiate a public inquiry into how Ontario has responded to SARS.

    "The refusal of the government to hold a public inquiry says to me that this is a government that has something to hide," Hampton said.

    The health workers want the province to implement a standardized system at hospitals provincewide to better protect them from infectious disease.

    Hampton said the government acted prematurely in promoting tourism and business following the economic fallout from the first outbreak of SARS and should have focused on harnessing the disease while protecting health-care workers.

    "The government let its guard down and the government doesn't want the public to know it," Hampton said.

    "We need a full, open and independent public inquiry that provides health-care workers with whistle-blower protection-that's exactly what my bill prescribes."

    Ontario Premier Ernie Eves has promised a review but will not commit to a full-scale public inquiry.

    In an open letter to health-care workers today, Clement acknowledged their safety concerns.

    "We are taking appropriate steps to help prevent the spread of SARS and other infectious diseases," he said.

    Clement also praised their dedication, but reminded them of their No.1 priority: "While I know how hard it is sometimes, our patients must remain our priority."
    Last edit by toronto rn on Jun 4, '03
  6. by   renerian
    Interesting

    renerian
  7. by   steven44121
    I feel that the danger pay is warrented, though I think it should be extended to any nurses working with sars pts., not just at the four designtated hospitals.
    The choices are double pay for the staff nurses or continue what they are presently doing, which is paying that rate to agency staff.
  8. by   fergus51
    Would we also ask for danger pay for working with patients with TB, HIV, Hep C, Necrotizing fascitis, etc?
  9. by   Mito
    Hello All,

    I think that danger pay is a marvelous political trick to distract nurses and the public away from the real issues surronding sars. These I believe to be:

    Poor information exchange between the government and frontline workers

    No real willingness to put the kind of money into sars units to minimize the risk (ie. actual completetly enclosed suits with individual breathing equipment)

    And ofcourse the old stand-by the lack of commitment on the goverenment's part to stabalize health care funding, offer some real FULL TIME jobs (my plumber works full-time for crying outloud and is paid more!!!)


    In summary the danger pay is just a band aid solution (which in reality how well does a band aid work on a virus???)

    Mito
  10. by   tues
    I would like to know about the Nurses who have to go into work isolation. They can still go to work, but are isolated from anything else including eating with their family, sleeping with their husbands, going out for an evening, or even to buy groceries. If I treat someone, and are put into work isolation, two days before I start vacation, who will reimburse me for my vacation time, or for the money I have paid in advance to travel somewhere, or the cottage i have rented etc. This also needs to be resolved, because we would be giving up a lot including our ability to unwind and restore ourselves before our return to work
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...s_nurses_col_1
    SARS Nurses Face Severe Risk, Toronto Doctor Warns
    Wed Jun 4, 2:58 PM ET


    By Rajiv Sekhri

    TORONTO (Reuters) - Wearing two layers of gloves, a mask and a gown
    may not prevent a nurse treating a SARS (news - web sites) patient from
    getting the deadly disease, a leading microbiologist in Toronto said on
    Wednesday.

    Dr. Donald Low, chief of microbiology at Mount
    Sinai Hospital, said there is evidence that some
    procedures, such as inserting breathing tubes
    into patients, are extremely risky and the
    transmission of the severe acute respiratory
    syndrome virus can occur even when all
    precautions are taken.

    "Clearly the experience in Toronto is that these
    people are at an increased risk of acquiring
    SARS," Low said. "People just don't understand
    the kind of risk they (nurses) are putting themselves at working in these
    wards."

    Low said nurses in SARS units could soon be wearing full protection suits --
    that look like space suits with their own oxygen systems -- to protect
    themselves. Already, one hospital is requiring such suits for SARS nurses,
    Low said.

    Recognizing the risk, four hospitals in Toronto have said they will double the
    pay for nurses dealing with SARS patients. Senior nurses could get C$66
    ($49) an hour.

    But for some that is not enough.

    "What they really need is for the government to put worker and public safety
    first by focusing on eradicating SARS, not telling us to live and work in the
    new normal," said Sid Ryan, the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of
    Public Employees, which organized a rally of nurses at a hospital in a
    Toronto suburb.

    Tony Clement, Ontario's health minister, said on Wednesday in an open
    letter to health-care workers: "We want you to know that we are aware of
    some of the concerns you have."

    He added: "People are counting on our health-care system and on each and
    every health-care worker in our system."

    Toronto, with 32 SARS deaths, is the only place outside of Asia where the
    virus that causes the flu-like illness has claimed lives. There are 77 probable
    and suspect cases of SARS in Toronto and more than 5,000 people are in
    quarantine.

    "More money alone will do nothing," said Doris Grinspun, executive director
    of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.

    She said nurses are overworked and need time to rest and also need
    additional training in infection control.

    "What we have here is an exhausted work force. Even if you know all the
    techniques, without rest you unwillingly may do things you may not notice,"
    Grinspun said.

    Even seemingly innocuous actions like scratching your hair or your ear can
    lead to infection in a SARS ward, she added.

    ($1=$1.37 Canadian)
  12. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...a_sars_virus_8
    Canada Nurses Rally Outside SARS Hospital
    Thu Jun 5, 7:07 AM ET


    By TOM COHEN, Associated Press Writer

    TORONTO - Health care workers called for safer conditions in caring for
    SARS (news - web sites) patients, as officials announced three more
    probable cases in Canada's largest city, including two nurses.

    Officials said Wednesday the number of
    probable cases of severe acute respiratory
    syndrome was 67, three more than the previous
    day. Two of the three new cases were nurses
    exposed while inserting breathing tubes in
    SARS patients, they said.

    Inserting the tubes was proving to be a risky
    procedure for nurses despite the double layer of
    protective gloves, masks and gowns they wear,
    said Dr. Andrew Simor, a microbiologist
    involved in the city's SARS containment effort.

    "It's obviously very disturbing that health care
    workers still are getting sick," Simor said.

    Earlier, scores of nurses rallied for better pay
    and working conditions in facing the
    pneumonia-like virus, which has killed 32
    people here. They complained they are asked
    to confront a dangerous disease at regular pay
    levels, while agency nurses hired for temporary
    duty are better paid.

    Ontario Health Minister Tony Clement
    responded to the protest by saying the
    provincial government would provide funds for
    premium pay for nurses and other front-line
    health workers at four Toronto hospitals that will
    handle all the city's SARS cases.

    Clement said it was up to the four hospitals to
    decide whether to give full-time nurses the
    premium pay, similar to the $48 an hour agency
    nurses can get.

    At Scarborough General Hospital, one of the
    four SARS hospitals, protesting nurses said the issue involved more than
    money.

    "None of us knows what the effects of SARS will be in the long-term," said
    Lesline Alleyne, who works in a SARS unit.

    She complained that nurses use respirator masks that block 95 percent of
    contaminants, instead of better ones considered 100 percent effective.

    Toronto has so far avoided a new World Health Organization (news - web
    sites) travel advisory despite a renewed outbreak of SARS weeks after
    officials thought they had the illness under control.

    The U.N. health agency discussed the possibility of warning against travel to
    Toronto on both Tuesday and Wednesday, but decided against it because
    the new cases appeared under control with no spread in the general
    population, said WHO spokesman Dick Thompson.

    Health officials in Toronto provided further signs the outbreak was receding,
    saying that 987 people remained in home quarantine because of possible
    SARS exposure, down from more than 5,000 the day before. More than 200
    others are being monitored for SARS-like symptoms.

    Toronto authorities thought they had the illness under control after the initial
    cluster appeared in March and April, but an undiagnosed case at North York
    General Hospital led to a further spread among other patients, family
    members and health care workers.

    The second cluster of SARS cases landed Toronto back on a WHO list of
    SARS-affected cities or regions. The U.N. agency also previously issued a
    travel advisory for Toronto, but rescinded it a week later after Canadian
    officials complained it was unwarranted and promised better screening of
    international travelers for SARS.
  13. by   toronto rn
    I believe some nurses and health care workers will be compensated for lost shifts due to quarantine. I saw a government notice about it at work last night but I don't know if it covers inconvenienced vacation time , by rights it should.

    I spent yet another shift working in the SARS critical care area and am schedualed to work there for the next two weeks. The RRT that was on reported how health care workers from Scarborough General Hospital were already starting to receive double pay, herself included, as she works there too.

    I agree that the quickly agreed upon danger pay is a ploy to distract from the bigger issues, but it still smarts to work with the same risks, same patients, and not receive the same pay. I have decided to start working with an agency on a casual basis, not just because of the money, but because the politics are too much and I need a break from it. Safety comes last unless you work at the select 4 hospitals. The nurses working the SARS unit were informed this morning at Screening that the 3M 9211 N-95 masks that a lot of the nurses were fitted for, wouldn't be available in the future. These masks were in short supply so the government has recommended that the nurses at St Michaels hospital get first dibs at them. Nice to know that we count.
    Last edit by toronto rn on Jun 7, '03
  14. by   fergus51
    Did you all get your ONA letter about this? It calls the danger pay a divisive ploy by the government which purposely puts ONA in a difficult position, considering it is clearly not in the collective agreement. It's just going to cause a situation of nurse against nurse, especially when the grievances start!!!

    I still think it's dumb! It was nurses on the orthopedic ward who got it at York, and Maternity nurses at Sinai who were exposed recently by that med student. Why should nurses on a SARS unit who get the best protection from it (because they have the best equipment) be the only ones getting danger pay?

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