In Greater Sudbury, where long-term care is such a hot topic, Sheri Tomchick has taken some serious steps to addressing the problem. A year ago, she launched Plan A Health Care Staffing Solutions.
“It's like supply teaching, but supply nursing,” Tomchick, a nurse herself who also taught courses in personal support work, said. “There aren't enough nurses, so I got the idea of 'borrowing.'”
The agency hires nurses to fill at least two shifts a month in various long-term care facilities throughout the city. Tomchick said nurses typically have the practical skills and critical thinking abilities to seamlessly fit in to new work environments, where they work alongside regular staff members.
While they may not know the inner workings of the facility as much as the nurses who staff them full time, Tomchick said her team comes in “a really close second.”
Not only do they do good work, Tomchick said Plan A nurses seem to enjoy the extra shifts. In many cases, it gives nurses the opportunity to perform tasks they wouldn't do in their full-time jobs, offering up more challenges in the workplace and job satisfaction.
“I rarely have a hard time filling the shifts,” Tomchick said. “I think they feel proud of the work they do.”
Sandra Rinaldo, a registered nurse and member of the Plan A team, said she is proud to be part of the dedicated group. While she has the opportunity to help, she is also offered the chance to work flexible hours, earn more and take on good shifts.
“Working with Plan A allows for a change of pace and environment,” she said. “The interaction with residents and their families (and) working with the other health-care providers is somewhat different than what occurs in the hospital setting.”
Rinaldo and the other Plan A nurses are also helping the facilities they help staff.
“Health-care shortages are being experienced everywhere, so Sheri has created an innovative approach to help alleviate some of the strain on our current health-care system,” Rinaldo said. “By getting involved with Plan A, I hoped to be of some assistance to these facilities with their staffing concerns.”
As far as Tomchick is concerned, the formula for Plan A was the only one that really made sense.
“There really wasn't another option,” she said. The team she has carefully selected are responsible for filling in for nurses who call in sick, have to be away or simply need more help. The Plan A crew is required to simply do whatever needs to be done.
“If you can find something to do, go help,” Tomchick said.
For more information about Plan A, visit planahealthcarestaffing.ca.
Posted by Arron Pickard