YELLOWKNIFE — Recent videos and screenshots from the Stanton Territorial Hospital obstetrics unit have been denounced as “unprofessional” and lacking empathy for staff and clients struggling with a continued lack of service.
NNSL Media obtained a copy of a seven-second TikTok video as well as accompanying photos that depict contract nurses commenting on being idle.
The video shows one nurse tossing her head wildly while “I know something you don’t/I know something you will never know” streams in the background.
The inscription above the nurse’s head reads: “When you accept a travel nursing contract for eight weeks. Show up and the unit is closed. But now you’re getting paid substantially more to do much less.”
Other photos show two nurses playing with birthing balls. In one frame, an inscription reads: “How to pass the time when the birthing unit is closed.”
In November, the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) announced that delivery services for expecting mothers would be suspended due to a staffing shortage between Dec. 10 and Feb. 21. Exceptions would be made for emergency deliveries.
Pregnant women have subsequently been diverted to Edmonton for birthing services.
Sources tell NNSL Media that the people in the visual media in question are contract nurses from outside of the territory, and that regular nursing staff are not happy about how the pictures reflect on the local workforce.
“The morale on the unit is very low at the moment and these (visuals) were a slap on the face to our regular team,” stated one anonymous person with knowledge of the incident. “I’m sure it is also a slap in the face to the families that are affected by the closure.”
The NTHSSA stated last week it is aware of the video and photos and that the issue has been dealt with.
“It was unprofessional and it demonstrated a lack of regard for our impacted patients and the staff working hard to get this service reinstated at full operational levels,” said David Maguire, spokesperson for the NTHSSA.
Maguire said the health authority can’t speak to specific human resources matters but assured that the issue received a response from the employer.
“We can say that in any case like this, the standard procedure would be to hold a disciplinary meeting with staff, discuss expectations and behaviour, and document these issues,” he said. “We apologize to anyone who was negatively impacted by this video during a time that is already incredibly stressful and difficult for both our staff and expectant families.”
As of this week, the hospital was still not able to provide full services on the obstetrics unit however the health authority is still working toward having it fully functioning to meet the Feb. 21 deadline, Maguire said.
— Simon Whitehouse, Northern News Service, Yellowknifer