Skip navigation

Six steps urged to reverse RN shortfall

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Canada could have a shortfall of 60,000 registered nurses by the year 2022 ...Read the full article

This conversation is closed

  1. Peter Simpson from Vancouver, Canada writes: Nurses are predominately female and are treated like second class citizens because of it. Firefighters have far less education, often sleep at work, until recently didn't pay for their training and make more money. Police don't have the sweetheart deal firefighters have but they have a better deal than nurses. Bus drivers take more sick days than nurses, have very little education, and make more than nurses. In most hospitals the unionized janitors earn what a nurse earns.

    Until we accept that nurses are taken for granted, largely because they are females, the shortage will continue.

    And for those who will say "is it all about money", well, yes it certainly can be for most struggling middle class people.
  2. BoB ImamI from Canada writes: ..//

    Nursing programs are a cash cow for universities. RN programs at hospitals were phased out years ago. THAT was a big mistake. My husband told me then that the day of reckoning was at hand based on simple population models. That was 20 years ago. He was correct.

    What hospitals require are literate 2-years and 1 year on the job trainees that can wash a patient, see to their corporal needs. What we don't need are 4-year BN nurses and especially Masters of Nursing grads.

    The reason we have a nursing shortage is because the universities tried and failed to turn the practical vocation of loving nursing into an academic pursuit. This made it a costly vocation, 80 to 100K of investment, to get a marginally above poverty level job.

    Get the universities OUT of the business of providing nurses. Put the job in the hospitals and have them cultivate their own. There is a RN exam that establishes standards.

    The last thing we need is a bunch of snooty academics theorizing on feminism and how to wash a dirty bum.

  3. Mayhem 11 from Canada writes: What nurses need is a little more respect, and a little more pay. From what I can tell by looking at the attitudes of nurses I know, (which I realize isn't exactly a correct population sample) is that fixing those two things would up the amount of people who would WANT to be nurses, but also the amount of nurses who would stay on the job.

    Every nurse I know is bitter, for good reason, they get treated like garbage - especially on the front line (ie emergency rooms). If the pay was better, i'm sure they would be willing to put up with more.
  4. John Hinkley from Canada writes: Sad to say, nursing as a profession has fallen on hard times. I certainly agree with the earlier post that said the problem really started in Ontario when the education of nurses was taken away from the hospitals and given to the colleges and universities. My wife went through the in-hospital nursing program at Toronto East general Hospital in the early 60's. The on-the-job training was invaluable to her in later years. Back then you had to be pretty dedicated young lady to go through that progam. When you weren't in class you were helping out hands-on in the hospital. If you had a particular area you wanted to specialize in (i.e. operating room) you worked there. Even if you didn't want to do some specialties you still were exposed to the patients (i.e. emergency room, palliative care, 999 Queen Street West, etc.). Nurses being trained today do not get the same hands-on exposure. And, the lack of caring shows in many of today's hospitals. There are certainly not enough good nurses to go around. Also, hospitals tend to rely on "agency" nurses more that they should (probably a funding dynamic) and, in my experience, these are the worst and laziest of all nurses. Too bad they end up getting paid more than nurses on salary. I say give the training of nurses back to the hospitals or at the very least some how make the college/university training programs more hands-on.
  5. Ian St. John from Canada writes: I agree strongly with most of the article. Nurses are the backbone of health care and we need a LOT more indians to serve the chiefs.

    That said, I disagree with "Reduce the recruitment of nurses from developing countries: "

    Both on the freedom of choice issue, building the nursing forces faster, and the fact that many will opt to go back and improve nursing in their home countries after improving their skills here.

    They should be given opportunity to take residence here to prove their skills first and then be required to serve the outlying communities for a period of say five years to relieve the shortages of health care workers in rural communities as a 'cost' of their migration. This would be sufficient 'discouragement' to prevent too much 'brain drain' from developing countries.

    Don't forget that migrating jobs tend to create opportunities where they LEFT as well. Any returning nurses can upgrade the standards for those who took the opporutnity to replace them. Thus, standards everywhere will improve.
  6. D J from Canada writes: My wife has been an RN for almost 20 years, from hospital setting, to doctors office to retirement home. Hospital paid WAY more. Advantage of going to the doctors office was no weekends/night shifts etc but it meant a big pay cut. She loves the retirement home setting although the pay is not as much as at comparible homes, less than 20.00/hr. Work is so close to home which makes the commuting probably the biggest thing keeping her there right now, along with enjoying (most) residents hands on type work, and staff. Management has tried to improve things sometimes we are all just cogs in a wheel that will keep turning with, or without us. Burnout and stress are the two biggest negatives and I don't know what can be done to address that, ESPECIALLY with such low pay levels.

    As far as trying to reduce Nurse sick time in the story, what do you expect if an employee is working in the environment they are? !!!
  7. Joe V from Canada writes: Peter Simpson from Vancouver, Canada writes: "Nurses are predominately female and are treated like second class citizens because of it. Firefighters have far less education, often sleep at work, until recently didn't pay for their training and make more money."

    Firefighters risk their lives every day on the job. They sleep at work because they are on call 24 hours a day. Their work is physically and emotionally demanding to a much greater extent than being a nurse.

    Instead of criticizing them for being paid more, maybe you should consider that they are paid well because it is a hard job. Most nurses (of either sex) wouldn't last a day as a firefighter. I doubt you would, either.
  8. Rick M from Canada writes: My wife is a nurse with 12 years experience and I have to say that when people tell me they are looking to go into the RN career stream I ask them if they really thought about it.

    the stress is high, the hours suck, the pay is worse, and the schooling bill is ridicously expense considering what you make when you get done. It is a thankless job where you are constantly told to work harder and don't bill overtime as there is no money in the budget for it.

    Until they figure out how to lower the stress levels, reduce the cost to educate, and increase the pay then just maybe more people will see it as a viable career choice. As it stands now it burns them out, and breaks their bodies down (more sickness) creating in some case long term health problems from bad backs, or working night shifts for years on end.

    Doctor's take what ? two more years of schooling and make three times the wage? Nurses do all the front line work and doctor's make the money.

    If the shortages get worse have fun taking care of your parents at home as there sure won't be trained staff to help care for them in 10 - 20 years.
  9. Joe V from Canada writes: "Doctor's take what ? two more years of schooling and make three times the wage? Nurses do all the front line work and doctor's make the money."

    Most doctors are just finishing their first year of medical school when nurses graduate. Try more like an additional 6 years. Furthermore, only the best and brightest get into medical school. Anyone with a pulse can get into nursing.
  10. Proud Northerner from Canada writes: I think comparing nursing jobs with other jobs such as firefighting is counterproductive. Nurses will continue to leave nursing as long as they are treated as second class citizens both by employers and the College of Nurses and the Ontario Nurses Association. There is no one looking after their best interests. As a retired nurse I know what nurses face day to day. Nurses are not less capable because they have received University educations any more than teachers are less capable because they now get University educations. Nursing is more than bedbaths and making beds. It is an art and a science. When the public, doctors, institutions (hospitals and public health and community employers) start treating nurses as competent and respected members of the health care team then you will see nurses staying in nursing. This is Nurses Week please say something appreciative to any nurse you know.
  11. Tiu Leek from Canada writes: "Anyone with a pulse can get into nursing".

    And it's even harder to get into firefighting. It takes 'heart', and an ability to keep your stick on the ice and the ability to go into the corners, yada, yada, yada.

    Firefighters have a tough and demanding job, but only when there's a fire.

    C$(##, I get so tired of the constant whining about whose job is tougher or more deserving of special treatment.

    Instead of actual solutions, all I see hear is b
    tching about who's fault it all is. Like that ever solved anything.

    Some of you really need to get it through your heads that at the end of the day, nursing is a necessary profession. And if people aren't going into the field, or are leaving it, then sooner or later there are going to be major problems than can't be solved with a general "It's all their fault".
  12. Scrappy Doo from Canada writes: Part of a solution I seldom hear about is efforts to get RNs out of positions where their expertise is wasted and back into place where their skills are utilized.

    For example, in the hospital where I work there are a whole fleet of RNs who work in the day surgery pre-op area. This is where patients come in off the street for elective surgeries and are prepared for their operation. This involves the RN getting the person changed out of their street clothes and into a gown, checking their ID and entering them into the computer system, taking a set of vitals and finally; showing them to a chair and placing the chart in the rack.

    These are stable people off the street, coming for elective surgeries, and I would estimate their are 15 RNs who work in this capacity. Now do you really need a 4 year university degree to do those tasks? I think most people would say no. But it is a cushy job and due to poor hospital efficiency - it persists. This is only an example of a widespread problem.

    Get these RNs out of these simple secretarial jobs and back into patient care and actual nursing. This alone would contribute and immediate influx of trained RNs.
  13. The Lakeman from Canada writes: There are RN's out there walking the streets looking for good employment. I know that because my wife is an RN with 30 years experience and she has been looking for a good nursing job for more than a year. Last year she finished the re-entry program to get her R.N. designation back. I have never seen anyone work so hard and with such dedication to be an RN again. Maybe someone can explain why this is so but I think the recruiters are in another world. They want youth, loads of education with lots of degrees to work away from home for 20 hours a week or show up for a 12 hour shift with an hours notice at rates far below what auto workers are making.
  14. C U from Canada writes: I was of the same opinion as many of the above contributors...there is need for nurses.

    My son-in-law has an MA, a BTheology, a diploma in MS computers and was not able to find a job to support his wife and 4 kids. The result was that at an advanced age - late 40's and being a people person was certain nursing was a good goal. He went back to University with all its incumbent costs, achieved his BSc and RN designation and got work in 2 hospitals. My daughter tells me that now his hours have been cut back to as little as 1 shift a week. I am incredulous! He is still unable to support the family!

    This tells me the managers are a big part of the problem, or, that in Saskatoon, there is a great surplus of nurses. Not likely!

    Just another sad story.
  15. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: @ Scrappy Doo: You describe a management level decision. But maybe there's also a regulatory element in that "choice" of resource allocation.

    Perhaps you should rear up on your hind legs and challenge hospital management on that misuse of resources. And your MPP as well

    Perhaps you could discuss and describe what you, as an inside operator, are doing to restore the community college and hospital-based training programmes that would help alleviate the problem.

    And if you aren't doing anything, pipe down
  16. Shank's Pony from Fredericton, Canada writes: Two solutions:
    1. less school. A two-year RN degree is plenty.
    2. more pay. Start at $40/hr and go up.

    Today's nursing is not bedcare. It's a very high tech position requiring knowledge of very complicated equipment, very potent drugs, and ever-more complicated forms of treatment for a vast range of diseases and problems. Unless you've done it, you have no idea how complex and technologically advanced it can be.
  17. Skeptical Observer from Canada writes: I think people dont understand the difference between practical nurses and Registered nurses. Bob Imami being one of them.

    Registered nurses are highly qualified and they do not wash peoples bums.

    The failure to realise the differences between what a university educated registered nurse does and a practical nurse does is really quite astonishing.

    I would say we need a little but more education for these registered nurses and that we should give them more responsibilities that a doctor would otherwise handle. That would help our healthcare system tremendously.
  18. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: @ Joe V: You are a major part of the problem. Stupid and foolish as you are. Firefighters do indeed risk their lives. But not every day like nurses do. Nurses, you may want to recall, work in hospitals. And hospitals are full of - wait for it - sick people. many of whom have what are colloquially known as infectious diseases. As in, they can get sick from doing their job at any time.

    You may want to keep that in mind.

    You may also want to keep in mind that all a firefighter needs to get into the job is a high school diploma. Unlike nurses, who need a lot more education.
  19. Scrappy Doo from Canada writes: Yeah Orest, I said exactly what I wrote at the last OR committee meeting as we are having difficulty staffing our recovery room (where nursing skills are essential). My idea was met with ducks and dodges as those nurses have been there for years and they aren't recovery room certified blah blah.

    You are a jackass, Orest. Don't tell me to pipe down. I can suggest whatever I want on this forum whenever I want. What have YOU done about the nursing situation that gives you the moral high-ground to decide who can suggest what? WHAT Orest?

    I sit on the OR committee of my hospital, I attend meetings in my free time on evenings and weekends to try and better streamline the ORs in my hospital. What have you done, besides criticize and prejudge other posters on the G&M forum? Unbelievable....
  20. Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: @ Scrappy Doo: Based on your comments, you is the jackass. And, unlike where I work, your management is at least somewhat accountable. So, what is your excuse?

    I work to keep your drinking water safe. But what passes for management where I work is completely unaccountable. To anyone.

    Quit your whining. Push harder.
  21. John Ormiston from Vancouver, Canada writes: An RN with a university education is qualified to work in acute care facilities (ie hospitals), public health, other public sector jobs, and the private sector. My observations in hospitals are that nurses need more sophistication not less. A university degree is a minimum for someone who must assess and treat acute illness, manage staff, implement new technology and at times research solutions and write readable reports. Nurses must accomodate people of all cultures and manage their relationships with each other, physicians, and the various types of therapists in the workplace. Even after 4 years of schooling I see that some students will never reach a very high level of functioning in a complex environment. Nursing requires clever people. People with only one or two years of very practical experience can only do the menial, repetitive jobs well. Also, if they don't have a high degree of interpersonal sophistication they annoy everyone and make the workplace unbearable. Hospital based training will not solve our problems.
    Recruiting from abroad should be increased, but the country of origin should be reimbursed for the cost of educating the nurse or physician we are taking. Likely their cost of educating nurses and physicians is lower than ours and they can then afford to produce more graduates. In fact if they can do it better and cheaper, then we should cut our domestic enrollment levels and reap the benefits of lower cost nurses and physicians.
    People with nursing training who want to make lots more money just go to the private sector. They have a degree that is fairly technical, a good work ethic, good writing skills etc. so they are employable in lots of areas. So paying nurses in hospitals a lot more money will not really help, the other employers of nurses will just boost their pay.
    Much of the janitorial work in hospitals is now contracted out, they generally do not get a wage even approaching an RN.
  22. Taunya Van Allen from Canada writes: As an BScN student, I am shocked and saddened to read many of the comments here. Firstly, comparisons are onerous. I am a nurse because the profession suits me. Doctors treat illnesses, Firefighters fight fires and rescue people, nurses care for patients, auto workers build cars. We all are needed in order for our society to run.

    Secondly, readers are saying out of one side of their mouths to shorten the time nurses spend in school and follow it up out of the other side of their mouths with the increased level of difficulty our job entails.

    Third, researchers have identified MANY areas that need to be changed in order to solve this nursing shortage: increased seats in nursing schools, increased wages, increased nurse educators, paradigm shift in society's views of nurses....

    Today is International Nurses Day and society should be celebrating the dedicated people of the profession, not griping about who makes more money than whom. I am certain each and every writer in this conversation will require a nurse and I hope that I can be the one taking care of you; you will see that we will care for you even though you barely think us worthy of wiping your bum.

    Taunya Van Allen, BScN, Level IV.
  23. Jennifer Lang from Edmonton, Canada writes: Wasn't the same article posted yesterday? First off, I agree with all posters who have suggested that for once and for all we stop comparing which profession is better, deserves more money etc. I'm sure all teachers, firefighters, police, nurses, doctors, etc work hard and are worth whatever salary they can get.

    Rick M says "Doctor's take what ? two more years of schooling and make three times the wage?"

    Please Rick, stop comparing apples and oranges. A 3 or 4 year Bachelors degree plus 4 years medical school plus 2 year family medicine residency or 5 year residency for specialist adds up to a little bit more than 'what ? two more years of schooling' than 4 year BScN. Please stop this silly comparison.
  24. Cut The Crap from Canada writes: This is pure crap.

    Although I have seen some good nurses, I have also seen nurses sitting all-night gossiping in emergency rooms while patients can't even get a blanket.

    I sat with my grandmother many nights in the hospital while nurses sat in the lunch room reading. She would have peed in bed if I wasn't there.

    I know nurses who brag about locking the psych patients in bed by 9PM so they can get at their movies.

    Some nurses work hard and all nurses are paid a good wage. A quick google search reveals that a full time nurse will make around $60,000 per year. That is a good salary.

    The union should do a better job of disciplining the lazy incompetent amongst them. And the training should be no more than two years.

    As for the education, most nursing work is relatively unskilled. They are not authorized to make any decisions, because they are not qualified. Nursing training is not very intellectually challenging, eventhough the job may be emotionally and physically draining.
  25. An Opinion from Canada writes: It is rather interesting, or more appropriately, self-serving that the Canadian Nursing Association advocates for less immigration under the pretext that it would be "poaching" other nations for their trained personnel. Yet, when international nurses immigrate to Canada and wish to re-train in Canada in order to meet Canadian standards so that they can become Canadian nurses, there are MANY barriers for them to do this including the territorial, protectionistic attitude of the nursing associations.

    I totally agree that the demise of the nursing profession started with the elimination of the 2-year RN program again under the pretext that graduates needed "University" qualifications in order to be a nurse.

    Give back nursing training to the hospitals and away from the universities. And re-train immigrant nurses who just need Canadian practical experience (apart from sufficient English skills).
  26. D J from Canada writes: Cut The Crap from Canada, you're kidding that you rely on google to establish a FT RN makes 60,000.00/year right.

    Real life experience, RN with 20 years experience is making,

    19.00X8hrX5daysX48 weeks (allowing 2 weeks vacation/8 public holidays, 2 sick days) is under 40,000.00 /yr for a fulltime RN (not an RPN).

    She trades off the short commute but it won't take much for her to retire sooner rather than later with some of the things she experiences with occasions of physical and mental abuse in the workplace, stress, etc.
  27. D J from Canada writes: "An Opinion from Canada writes...a 2 year RN program"

    You mean an RPN. RN's used to be 3 years and are now 4.
  28. Nickstar One de Bantario Banada from Canada writes: " force is aging and, increasingly, nurses are leaving the profession early because of the physical and mental strain, and the lack of flexibility in their work schedules and time for education and research...."
    Boo Hoo, cry us a river.
    Here's a start, stop "voting" to work 12 hours shifts.
    This would go a long, long way to relieve Physical and Mental strain which is "self-inflicted" by voting for such long shifts.
    Of course, this would seriously affect the 'greed factor' of 12 hour shifts, especially the "overtime" 12 hour shifts @ time and a half or double time(which, 'deep down' is the prime motivator for these shifts). By the way, management loves these 12-hour horrors(while patients do not) since only 2 nurses @ 12 hours are required for 24 hours rather than 3 nurses @ 8 hours for 24 hours.

  29. M Kiernan from Canada writes:
    Good luck in your career, Taunya. I hope you're one of the good ones who will make a positive contribution to the profession, and to the lives of many people.

    In my career so far--twenty years in health care from govt to hospitals, private to public, pharmaceuticals to home care--I have found the organization of nurses to be disappointing and unprofessional. For all that time, considering my experience as a patient, researcher, and organizational leader, i can only think of a handful of nurses I would like to thank.

    So much goodwill has left the profession, and clinical competence (once the physician's role) among nurses is deteriorating the quality of care and service competence. While physicians are often portrayed as insensitive and abrupt, and nurses compassionate and empathetic, my service experience from physicians has been vastly superior to what I've received from nurses. I've found most nurses I've worked with or been treated by to be spiteful, passive-aggressive, and--thanks to a triage nurse at Sunnybrook--outright abusive.

    As for the salary debates on this board, check provincial nurses unions' collective agreements, or those negotiated separately between hospitals or home care providers. A full-time Ontario RN with 5 years' experience will earn about $55,000/year. Rates differ for RPNs and BScNs.

    It might help the 'shortage' claim if, for once, the survey and analytical methodology were described.
  30. Naomi Y from Canada writes: "Reduce the recruitment of nurses from developing countries"

    This also mean we are denying immigration opportunity to ppl because they happens to be a RN. So we are essentially punishing them for being a nurse. Isn't it ironical?

    But I guess, we can also take in gangster and terrorist.
  31. bob smith from Canada writes: "Instead of criticizing them for being paid more, maybe you should consider that they are paid well because it is a hard job. Most nurses (of either sex) wouldn't last a day as a firefighter. I doubt you would, either. "

    I don't think firefighters was last very long as a nurse because they aren't smart enough. They are two very different professions. Firemen get paid for their muscles and nurses get paid for their brains, judgement and technical skills. If nursing was a mostly male profession I'm sure their pay would be much higher. Unless I'm mistake nurses are injured on the job far more than cops or firemen.
  32. inside view from Canada writes: If there's a shortage, why are most nurses working part-time? Why is no one else claiming this? Do we still have too many services in hospitals that should be elsewhere? Are hopsital nurses still providing nursing home care to 30% of their patients because the elderly have yet to be moved to nursing home or group home or ocondo beds for elderly persons needing more personal, more homeyand far less expensive nursing home care? Isn't this an awful waste of taxdollars? Is there no limit to Canadian willingnes to allow government to spend without thinking?
  33. John Doucette from Manotick, Canada writes: Memo to the Unwashed:
    Six steps? We shall not participate in any of them!
    They might actually improve the system!

    Dr: Death
    Physicians for Expensive Drugs, Canada.
  34. Adam Mair from Canada writes: Here is a question I'd like to pose to all of the health professionals commenting on this board: In your opinion, is there really a shortage? Do you experience in your day to day, or is it just something that you read about in the news?

    For example, here is what Canadian Nurses Association is saying now, compared to what it said in 2002:

    2009: "If significant action isn’t taken now, the shortage of registered nurses who provide direct, clinical care to Canadians will climb from the equivalent of nearly 11,000 full-time nurses in 2007 to almost 60,000 in 2022."

    2002: "According to a 2002 study by the Canadian Nurses Association, if we continue with past workforce utilization patterns of registered nurses (RNs), Canada will experience a shortage of 78,000 RNs by 2011 and 113,000 RNs by 2016."

    They've revised their shortage projections from "113,000 in 2016" to "60,000 in 2022". If the projections were wrong then, what makes them right now?
  35. Scrappy Doo from Canada writes: Adam,

    Interesting question. I do appreciate a shortage of RNs in the hospital where I work - particularly in the ER, recovery room and ICU. Of course these are the areas I am most in contact with. I don't really do any ward or clinic medicine.

    As I alluded to in my earlier post, IN MY OPINION, alot of the "shortage" can be attributed to a foolish DISTRIBUTION of nursing expertise as opposed to a simple numerical deficit. We have RNs doing jobs that a person with basic high school level skills could easily do. These are wasted human resources.

    Also, I must admit I haven't read the full versions of these reports, but with that disclaimer - I do find some of these numbers suspect as well. Simple math will tell you that what the Nurses Association is suggesting are just not realistic unless Canadians are willing to spend ALOT more on health care (i.e. more taxes).

    I.e. if we have 170,000 RNs now in Canada. Will be short by 60,000 more in 2022 that is a total of 230,000 RNs - not accounting for disproportionate retirement and loss for other reasons (this is quite difficult to estimate, and in some senses is an educated guess). But my point is; the current population of Canada is 33 million. 33,000,000 / 230,000 = 1 RN for every 143 Canadians. And of course those 230,000 RNs are ALSO Canadians. What that implies is that 1/143 Canadian citizens will be an RN. I.e. 0.7% of the POPULATION (not workforce!) in one field - nursing. Is that realistic?
  36. Bruce Rich from Lansdowne ON, Canada writes: The previous posts are right about hospital based training - and it should be free, or nearly so, as in the past.
    One reason nursing costs have risen, leading to the decline in numbers of nurses per patient, is partly due to the exhorbitant cost of training (either at a community college or university.) If these were lowered through hospital based training, the salaries could reflect that to some extent. It would also lead more high school students to choose nursing as a career. The overproliferation of university trained nurses is an obscenity and totally unnecessary.
    Having large numbers of in-training nurses situated at hospitals and resident there provides a large pool of semi-trained and nearly trained nurses to cope with epidemics, large scale disasters etc. At present, no Canadian province has the staffing capability to meet the demands of a pandemic or major disaster.
    The people who put these programs in so many years ago knew what they were trying to accomplish. The dismantling of this system was one of the biggest mistakes ever made in the area of health care.
  37. My eyes are open, Are yours? from Canada writes: This article was just an exercise in arithmetic. Stating that nurses take 14 days of sick leave, without investigating the reasons why, doesn't give you any solution as to how to reduce this. It's a physically demanding job, I know a lot of nurses have to go on disability from time to time. Maybe they should get off duty firefighters to come and lift patients?

    Nurses have too much administrative work to do moving patients into and out of modalities. Hospitals need a much more robust IT solution, with barcodes and machine-readable health cards that can store the patient's entire history. We have the technology.

    BTW, the days of 'bedbath' are over. I was in hospital for a week with abdominal surgery, no one gave me so much as a baby wipe. They just boosted my morphine so I didn't mind the itching of my unwashed hair. I had to do the best I could with one hand (the other being hooked to the IV which was too big to move into the bathroom) and one of those taps that's spring loaded to shut off when not held on.
  38. MIke M from Canada writes: Close the doors for immigration until we get our house in order. We let in how many immigrants and refugees a year. Does this not add more fuel to an already out of control fire. (common Sense)
  39. I'M DROWNING IN REALITY from Barrie, Canada writes: My daughters a Nurse her hospital has told their staff even though the have unfilled positions, they will be laying off RN's and replacing them with unregistered staff PSW's..meanwhile in their laterst budget they showed cost cutting for all depts except Administration. should they not be cutting jobs that don't effect patient care Oh and their not telling exactly where the layoff are going to be for a couple of months, You wonder why Nurses are leaving the profession getting burnt out or just giving up all together?
  40. I'M DROWNING IN REALITY from Barrie, Canada writes: BoB ImamI from Canada writes: The reason we have a nursing shortage is because the universities tried and failed to turn the practical vocation of loving nursing into an academic pursuit. This made it a costly vocation, 80 to 100K of investment, to get a marginally above poverty level job.

    You don't know what the hell your talking about thats what psw do Nurses are doing more and more of what docters did in years gone by you Madam are an utter fool
  41. Thinkingman FromCanada from Canada writes: I think that some of the nurses I have met who have looked after my loved ones dealing with illness have been Angels, as well as dedicated Professionals, working in a very challenging career. I think the same of Firefighters who risk their lives helping others, and all of the dedicated people, who give much to help others. In my life I have seen many such people. I think they are all hero's.
    Respectfully. Kevin.
  42. David M. from Kelowna, Canada writes: Take a look at the situations where there is little or no nursing shortage (eg, Norway), and I think you will find that (a) nurses are much much better paid than here, and (b) they are treated with the respect of a professional. Is it so difficult?

    Here is step number 7: eliminate 25% of the administrative hierarchy in your typical hospital or health authority, and re-direct it to alleviating the nurse issues. I mean, have you ever seen the bloated bureaucracy in a health authority? It is truly breath-taking. V-Ps upon V-Ps worrying about paper clips and parking space allocations.
  43. Larry Hill from Canada writes: Orest Zarowsky from Toronto, Canada writes: @ Scrappy Doo: You describe a management level decision. But maybe there's also a regulatory element in that "choice" of resource allocation. Perhaps you should rear up on your hind legs and challenge hospital management on that misuse of resources. _______________________________________________________ I am sorry to tell you that it is usually not the hospital managment that is totally at fault. The nurses have very strong union that has a lot of say in how nurses are allocated and what their duties can and cannot be. Stepping outside a collective bargaining agreement will bring a flurry of grievances and arbitration hearings. The nurses themselves have a tight "class system". LPNs (licensed practical nurses) are much looked down on as being very inferior to RNs. The doctors on the other hand do not want the RNs taking over part of their duties. The fact of the matter is that LPNs are as highly trained now as RNs were years ago, and RNs are farther ahead of doctors were some years ago. But we have not come to grips with this fundamental change in medical care.. It is also fine to say that we will be "ethical" and not raid other countries for their medical practioners. But the US is the biggest raider of them all and pillages our system mercilessly.
  44. Jan Calgary from Calgary, Canada writes: As a RN with over 35 years experience working in almost every sector of health care, I feel many of the problems of shortage of highly qualified nurses is exaggerated. The problem is that the highly skilled nurses are still expected to do tasks that could easily be done by nursing attendants or practical nurses. Last month a patient stuffed paper towels down the toilet, the plumber and housekeeping staff waited while 3 RNS with 4 years degrees cleaned up the mess so the plumber could do his job, he does not do "clean up" and the housekeeping staff then could their job, "they don't do any body fluids or waste". Strange but true
  45. Adam Mair from Canada writes: Is there a true nursing shortage though? I find it less than surprising that the association which represents nurses is claiming shortage and calling for a bunch of increases to funding, work incentives/conditions, etc., to remedy the problem.

    If you read the actual nursing association documents, they are calling for a lot of action which would implicitly mean 1) funding/collaboration for their association, and 2) work/salary improvements for nurses. (which may be justified)

    I wish the G&M would have asked more actual health workers how they experience the shortage, rather than just trusting the numbers. Do any commenters have some insight into whether the shortage is legit?
  46. Ralph Bear from Canada writes: I think there are some faulty assumptions being made here. The biggest surrounds the concept that there are many other healthcare disciplines that could be used to perform the work that nurses do. For instance, why aren't practical nurses, EMT's, and many others being used to perform functions that are assigned to nurses? The reason is that nurses, like most other professional groups, have managed to build their own "guild" that really only protects the interests of the professionals. Doctors, lawyers, psychologists, engineers all do the same. Simple solution-take away the power these professional associations have. Difficulty-finding politicians who will take this issue on.
  47. Georgia An from Canada writes: In December I was admitted to hospital in my 7th month of pregnancy and had an emergency c-section. I had excellent nursing care throughout my stay.
    The nurses in NICU looking after my twins were outstanding- absolutely outstanding professionals who handle very complex issues every day. They operate a variety of technologies (tons of computers and assorted gear), assist doctors with life saving procedures, provide gentle and thoughtful care for patients while educating and advising the patient's family.
    They see many happy stories and also a fair share of terribly heartbreaking stories. All I can conclude is that for these exceptional people, nursing is a calling to heal the sick and serve humanity- not just a job. How else would they be willing to handle the night shifts, the workload, the huge responsibility? I know that sounds grandiose but I came to this conclusion after spending every day of the most difficult 50 days of my life with nurses.

    Thanks in great measure to them and their colleagues, we have 2 healthy children. All I can say is God bless nurses.

    A functioning and respected nursing profession is obviously the foundation of the whole healthcare system. Anyone who has ever been a patient should attest to that.
  48. Theresa Thulin from Canada writes: I am a registered nurse on a busy labour and delivery unit, and I can honestly say the nursing shortage does effect the care provided to patients on a day to day basis. Our patient loads are sometimes unrealistic, which means we have to prioritize our time and allocate our resouces accordingly to provide safe patient care. That being said, I absolutely love my job, and would recommend nursing to anyone who wants a fulfilling career. It is a privlege to be included in a family's birth experience, and I am fortunate to be that person on a regular basis. I have worked with many caring, supportive nurses that will go out of the way for a patient's comfort by doing the little things that medically do not need to be done (ie. warm blankets, a cup of tea, and just listening to patient's concerns and fears), and I have also worked with nurses that do their job to the bare minimum where medically the patient is safe, yet not necessarily cared for. I firmly believe both aspects of nursing care are required, however, with the shortages, it is getting more difficult to provide the comfort that patient's deserve. There are lazy people in every profession, it is unfortunate, but true - and there is no difference in nursing, hopefully those of us that will go the extra mile will be remembered in your experiences. I have my degree from a Canadian University, and I value the education that I was able to obtain. My education did not only teach me how to do the skills, but also to question why these skills should be done. To critically think through situations, make important decisions, and call the doctors at appropriate times are all part of the nurses' role, and I dont see how this could be accomplished effectively without the higher level of education I achieved. To decrease the education required would only cause more problems and decrease the safety of patients in the healthcare system.

Comments are closed

Thanks for your interest in commenting on this article, however we are no longer accepting submissions. If you would like, you may send a letter to the editor.

Report an abusive comment to our editorial staff


Alert us about this comment

Please let us know if this reader’s comment breaks the editor's rules and is obscene, abusive, threatening, unlawful, harassing, defamatory, profane or racially offensive by selecting the appropriate option to describe the problem.

Do not use this to complain about comments that don’t break the rules, for example those comments that you disagree with or contain spelling errors or multiple postings.

Back to top