Megan Eggins is a registered nurse, and president of United Nurses of Alberta Local 70. She too has her concerns about what privatization would bring.
“My concerns are that not all Albertans are going to receive the same standard of care. My biggest concern is that those that can afford it will get it and those that can’t, they are going to be lost and forgotten, therefore putting a greater strain on the public healthcare sector, and also taking away alot of nurses. We are already very short staffed. Not just nurses, all healthcare workers,” she said.
Eggins said nurses have been in survival mode for two years, with staff working over time, and short-staffed. Stress is high, she said, and concerns about mental health persist.
“I can speak for myself but in the fall with the Delta wave it impacted a lot of people. Myself personally, I just know the RN’s but there were about 40 of us that were redeployed, reassigned, and you are taken out of your role, and put into a different one, and some of us saw things that we never thought we would see in our career, and it was traumatizing,” she said
“I personally was on the COVID-19 unit and, it was, it was a very sad experience. I never in my life thought I would see such acuity, and one disease take over a whole unit,” she added.
Eggins said the pandemic has resulted in an exodus of nurses and healthcare professionals who are simply done. For nursing in particular, she said a greater emphasis on recruitment and retention is needed, as is proper mentorship for new nursing staff.
The rally in Medicine Hat was part of a province-wide initiative. Rallies were also held in Lethbridge, Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton.