Reaction to the Dr. Tombler Letter Regarding Bilingual Nurse Policy at the Cornwall Ontario Hospital PART 1 – POLL – February 3, 2012

CFN – Leave it to a Doctor to stir controversy regarding nursing!   That’s exactly what Dr. Tombler has done in Cornwall Ontario.

The good doctor lashed out, and I have to admit, I agree with him, about the Cornwall Hospital policy of only hiring bilingual nurses full time.


“The reality is that the hospital functions virtually entirely in English, from the senior administration to the very board which approved the ad in question. I sat on the hospital board when French language testing was made policy; I, and the other two physicians who sat on the board, voted against this policy. We quite rightly made the point that nursing skills were more important to patient care than proficiency in French.”

Can anyone really argue that point; especially when there’s a shortage of nurses that qualify as whatever bilingual is interpreted to mean and non bilingual nurses rack up immense overtime hours.

In these days of watching every penny in the medical system does this make any sense?

Is it really about offering services in both official languages?   Should that come ahead of offering the best possible services?  Many I spoke with this afternoon were upset that they get labeled as “prejudiced or racist” to protest this policy pointing out this is a financial issue and right to work issue, and of course patient care issue in the end.

Cornwall Nurse Julie Johnston had the following to say:

Speaking French should not be requirement to attain employment. I would like to know how many doctors are bilingual?

To not get promoted to a full time job as a result of not passing their french exam is discriminatory. I speak French but would not pass their test.
I agree with Dr. Tombler 100%.

Should the Cornwall Hospital ONLY hire BILINGUAL nurses FULL TIME?

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Also, if you’re a doctor or nurse in Cornwall we would love to interview you for the next part in this series.

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  1. Pete and Paul, lighten up a bit. This isn’t a Statistics Canada poll, you’re not giving testimony at a trial or giving evidence to a Parliamentary committee. Oops sorry about that last one, I guess it’s OK now to lie in the House of Commons.

  2. Canada is not a bilingual Country – Quebec does not have any other official language but French, nor does it have a bilingual designation, ergo Canada is not officially French/English bilingual. After 40 plus years, there has been almost zero increase in functionally English/French bilingual Canadians! At a confirmed overall cost that includes both direct and indirect, the latter being about 20 times the direct for a total to date approaching two trillion dollars!

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