A family of nurses worrying about quality of care

I know RNs. My daughter, son, and my wife are all actively providing health care to hospital patients in Ontario. While the conversation at the dinner table can be a bit graphic for the uninitiated, what is most striking is the dedication and commitment they share. They all have a powerful desire to deliver great care, which becomes apparent when they share their stories of challenging situations.

However, the level of frustration is rising as resources to deliver even adequate care are being squeezed and the safety of patients and nurses is threatened daily.

It is becoming more difficult for RNs to deliver professional care when hospitals are freezing the hiring of new RN grads, and dangerously increasing the workload of existing RNs. Added to this challenge is that patients are more ill than ever and the system is now geared towards day surgeries and a quick discharge whenever possible.

The families of patients have little appreciation for the gap between what they want for their loved ones, and what the budget for care will allow, which only adds to a stressful workplace for overworked RNs.

In this environment nurses are stuck in the middle of knowing what care needs to be provided, and how the resources are not there to deliver that care. Meanwhile hospital administration has become more bureaucratic and less efficient, and the ranks of administration have swelled, eating into precious budget dollars that should be used to improve front line nursing care.

I am incredibly proud of the dedication, knowledge and work ethic of my RN family members. I am in awe of the challenges they face daily at their workplace, however I am in fear of the underfunding that has become the norm, and the consequences this causes for patient care in our province.