? Union of Psychiatric Nurses of British Columbia - UPN - UPNBC
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  • Dan Murphy Letter
  • Proposed Merger Agreement
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UPN members voted in favour of the proposed merger with BCNU

Proposed Merger vote results

We are pleased to announce that after ballots were counted in Langley today, UPN members have voted 80% in favour of the proposed merger with the BC Nurses Union.

“Today RPNs made history by voting to merge with BCNU,” said President Dan Murphy. “There was a clear recognition across BC that the best way to advance psychiatric nursing and grow its voice on mental health issues was to join forces with BCNU.”


UPN wins severance option at FPH

Grievances Award

This award concerns two separate grievances filed by the PSNBA and the PEA over three “divestments” implemented unilaterally by the Government. A third grievance filed by the British Columbia Service and Employees’ Union (the “BCGEU”) concerning the same events was initially part of this proceeding, but was resolved by the parties involved short of arbitration.


Proposed Merger

This is a Change of Tune for UPN ... Why?

Considering a possible merger with BCNU has been an extremely difficult decision for the Council. Recent BC Labour Relations Board decisions have been to amalgamate bargaining units. Their recent ruling in regards to Broadmead and the LPN’s has been to award bargaining rights to a single union. These decisions have left the UPN in a vulnerable position.


Important Message From President Dan Murphy

Proposed UPN/BCNU Merger Agreement

Below is the message from Dan Murphy, President and the UPN/BCNU proposed Merger Agreement.

The proposed Merger Agreement, along with ballots for membership voting will following in the mail in the near future.

Informational meeting dates will be posted on the website within the next few days. Please stay informed by attending one of the meetings …

Letter From President Dan Murphy

Proposed UPN-BCNU Merger Agreement

Nurses' Bargaining Association negotiations begin

Safe care issues top nurses' agenda

Initial contract negotiations between the Nurses' Bargaining Association (NBA) and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) took place May 15 and 16. The NBA contract covers Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses employed by provincial health authorities. Although the current 2012-2014 Provincial Collective Agreement (PCA) expired March 31, 2014, its provisions remain in effect.

Current safe staffing issues unresolved

Nurses' top priority for bargaining talks is their ability to provide safe, quality patient care. Contract language to ensure safe staffing levels was secured in the previous contract. However NBA representatives expressed grave concerns about the lack of respect for that agreement and the failure of the employer to implement the language that is designed to ensure safer care for the patients, clients and residents of nurses. Resolving those issues and many other outstanding issues from the last agreement must be tackled before any discussions on new initiatives take place.

Despite contractual promises to replace nurses when absent as well as for patient demand, nurses' representatives say evidence shows this has often not occurred. They say long-term care nurses have not received access to jobs and training when layoffs took place which was promised in the last agreement. Ongoing violence against nurses and unsafe working conditions also persist, and nurses want to see province-wide solutions from this round of negotiations.

Nurses' experiences must be heard

During the talks, NBA reps insisted that the real life day-to-day working experiences of nurses must be heard at the table. To-date, however, many nurses' experiences indicate that they are not getting the required staffing that was agreed to – and patients and nurses are suffering as a result. For its part, the employer was anxious to present numbers showing progress in how it has addressed staffing. Today HEABC presented and reviewed the recent Health Sciences Professional Bargaining Association (HSPBA) five-year deal which was ratified in December of 2013.

The preliminary talks ended today, and nurses' reps remain firm that outstanding staffing and care issues must be resolved. Both nurses and employer spokespersons expressed a willingness to listen and look for solutions. No dates have been set for future discussions at this time.

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The Spotlite is on . . .

Pam Ferguson RPN

Pam Ferguson and her family are originally from Alberta. They moved to the Okanagan in 2002. The family spent a short time living in Vernon and then moved to Kelowna. The Ferguson family consists of Pam, her husband and two sons; aged 19 and 22.

Pam was always intrigued by human behavior, which moved her to start taking a Bachelor of Arts degree in Red Deer. After completing one year of this program, the realization that it would take a long time to become a psychologist began to sink in, and so Pam was rethinking her career path. Then she saw an ad in the paper about training at Alberta Hospital Edmonton. Pam was informed that she could be paid to become psychiatric nurse in a couple of years and yet still get to work in mental health. In addition, Pam recognized she would get to see things that would normally take years to experience. So Pam applied at Alberta Hospital, Edmonton. Funny thing, her boyfriend (now her husband), went to Calgary when Pam went to Edmonton. However, the two of them kept dating. He took an avionics program, and after they both graduated, they got married. Because Pam was obliged to continue working at the hospital where she was sponsored (in her nursing program), the couple settled in Edmonton. They subsequently bought a house there and started a family as well. The family stayed in Edmonton for 15 years.

Pam and her family made good friends in Edmonton, but the family spent as much time as they could vacationing in BC. Over the years they began to wonder why they didn't live where they wanted to be most of the time. The decision was made to pull up stakes and move to the Okanagan.

Pam has worked in a few different positions while in Kelowna including the ACSS team as a case manager; on the Assertive Case management team; as a residential nurse; and on the intake team. She is happy she has been able to slide into a temporary part-time position on the ASTAT team (Adult Short Term Assessment & Treatment Team) in Kelowna. Pam loves her work. She currently helps to run groups. One is a wellness group for people with anxiety and depression disorders which consists of 8 sessions of basic mental health information. She revealed that this can prove interesting, as the team never quite knows what to expect in terms of the mix of individuals that will ultimately assemble—until they start. Pam has also been a part of a depression group, an anxiety group as well as Dialectical Behavior Therapy group, and sees clients on an individual basis for counselling.

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Jojo LaRosa RPN

“My life has been a series of happy accidents,” Jojo LaRosa said about his life’s journey and the experiences he has encountered. However, Jojo is much like the proverbial onion: as you peel off the layers, you find a whole new dimension—some not easily explained and some defying linguistic definition. He believes strongly in “Dao” (more commonly known as “Tao”), an Eastern spiritual and philosophical belief system that advocates allowing nature to take its course; not blocking the flow of energy or the meanderings of the universe to take their destined course. Sound mystical? Yes and no.

Jojo was born in Manila, in the Philippines. He immigrated to Canada when he was 9 years old. His father, Ulysses is a wonderful painter—one of those well-known artists that set up their easels at the entrance to Stanley Park, late each spring. He is 75 years old and has shared his talent with Vancouverites and tourists for countless years—and is passionate about the beautiful landscapes and seascapes he creates on canvas. Jojo possesses the same artistic bent. He is also his dad’s namesake: Ulysses, but was dubbed” Jojo” early in life.

Many years ago, Jojo was playing soccer and met someone who invited him to work at Woodlands as a health care worker. This was his first “accident,” a proverbial fork in the road that changed his life forever. As changes were introduced to that area, Jojo was transferred to Riverview Hospital and later to the old Forensic Psychiatric Institute (“Colony Farm”). During this time, Jojo witnessed some great psychiatric nursing, but also some nursing behaviors that disturbed him. He decided to learn how to “become a good psychiatric nurse” and subsequently went to Douglas College, graduating in May 1993.

His foray into forensic psychiatric nursing led to a pilot project position with the Attorney General’s office—working with crown counselors to assess individuals in the Forensic Assessment Unit at Vancouver Pretrial. This was very exciting but very intense work, and as Jojo came to realize later on, this took a toll on his own mental well-being. In fact, Jojo left psychiatric nursing for almost 5 years and pursued the arts in his own way: he took a graphic arts course and worked as a freelance graphics designer for a number of years.

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Educational opportunities fund returns.

UPN is pleased to announce the return of the Educational Opportunities Fund. Bursaries from this fund are used for the clinical education of nurses and include the upgrading of nursing skills. All active UPN members are eligible to apply for this funding. The current maximum that will be paid out to an individual annually is $4,000.

Application Form

Funding Details

College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC   Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada   Canadian Mental Health Association   CAMINH   BC Health Coalition   Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions   British Columbia Nurses' Union