I had complications because of squeezed resources

A few months ago I had serious surgery.  Waiting for pain medication or assistance for the washroom was very difficult and with time delays due to staff shortage. They insisted I had to get out of bed two days after my surgery, which my surgeon was very upset about. I developed complications on the second day after my initial surgery and felt the cause was due to me getting up to soon.

After undergoing a second emergency surgery my surgeon said I would be in the hospital for at least another two weeks. The next day after lunch I was told that I was being released that day. When I inquired as to why they said they needed the bed and staffing issues played a role in the decision. Two days after getting home I developed an infection on my incision.

I feel decisions are being made in haste because of all the staffing cuts being made by the government. They keep blaming every body else for this but unfortunately patients are paying the price.

I could write an extensive letter about my experiences before and after this surgery. After waiting four years to finally get the surgery I was very disappointed in the end results due to staffing issues and now I’m being told I may yet require a third surgery. If I’m told that it is a necessity I’m not sure I would do it under these circumstances.

I hope nurses and the medical world in Ontario are successful in persuading the government to make health care and senior care their top priority. Enough is enough.

No time to take a breath

I have just been released from the hospital and have seen the shortage of nurses and how hard those that are there are working. They are so busy there is no time for them to even stop and take a breath. I’m amazed that they manage to smile!

I beg the government to listen to stop the cuts. We definitely need more Registered Nurses.

Management provides no support

We try our best to provide the best care we can. I work on an internal Medicine floor where patients are acutely sick with many co morbidities. Some are palliative which need more attention emotionally. We also have patients who need more attention on teaching regarding their diagnosis. Physiotherapy has been cut from our floor so it is our duty to walk with patients and focus on  strengthening and mobility. We also are monitoring our sick patients if they need a blood transfusion or an infusion of some sort.

Nurses need support from management, yet management is only focused on the number of nurses and patient satisfaction. I agree we should be available for our patients when need be. But how can we deliver safe efficient care if there is no support from management or not enough nurses? We are going to burn out!

I'm a new nurse, and I'm frustrated

It frustrates me that when patients call it takes too long for the bell to be answered. Why? Because patient load keeps increasing. Because the flow of patients and their needs keep increasing. I’m tired of the decrease in front line health care providers like physiotherapists. What happens when no one has time to help a patient get out of bed for the day? I’ll tell you. They stay in the hospital longer. They decondition. We put them at risk instead of helping them get better.

I’ve been a nurse for barely two years. And I’m already frustrated. What does that say for the rest of my career? Where is the hope that nurses will be respected and continue to have a voice? 

Our system is overstretched

It has taken a year to find out the results of a health concern I was facing.

Our health care system it so over expended that it takes months to get in to see specialists, only for a couple of minutes of their time. I found out it was quicker for me to make my own appointments and be my own champion then rely on the process. This is foreign to me and I wasn’t sure exactly what to do. It was very scary and frustrating not knowing anything for six months.

When a previous health concern I had, it was maybe two weeks from the diagnosis to the procedure. Now, I’ve been waiting for a call from the same doctor for three months. I asked for the phone number so I could call and get an idea how long I would have to wait for this. The person who answered sounded so overwhelmed they were actually quite rude to me. This is a product of all the cutbacks. People are so overstretched they must be at the breaking point. When I read that there are going to be more layoffs I honestly could not believe it. 

The cuts are definitely way too deep. There is a lot of work required to even come close to what is needed now. The cut backs have to stop and rebuilding needs to begin. Canadians are fed up and embarrassed by our health care system where we were once bragging and very proud we had the best health care in the world. 

With the exception of one person, everyone has been fantastic in helping me and I don’t understand how they get through their days. This is what I’ve gone through in just one year. I hear some horrible stories about cuts...I just cant believe they are getting away with it.


I fear for my patients on night shifts

I fear for my patients' lives and my license everytime I work a night shift. Having to care for six fresh post-operative patients is not safe for one RN no matter how many years of experience. What’s worse is having to care for 12 post-operative patients when the other nurses goes for their break.

I’m constantly having to apologize to angry patients and their family members for the lack of care and wait times. So much more pressure is put on us, yet we’re the ones getting yelled at by frustrated families. My new response to everyone now is “write a letter to the government”.

Inadequate care for seniors

My 99 year-old mother-in-law fell at her long-term care home and broke her hip early on a Friday morning. She went to hospital by ambulance and the doctor recommended surgery. She kept getting bumped on the waitlist for surgery all weekend. All of this time her meds were held and she was not given much to eat because of the possibility of surgery. The lack of meds caused a lot of problems, she had to be restrained, pulled out tubes, lost significant blood,  and was very confused. The surgery finally took place Monday afternoon due to a unexpected break in schedule. 

By Thursday staff started talking about discharging her. She had not been out of bed, and not used the bathroom yet but we were told her hip was fixed and she had to go back to her long-term care home. We tried to discuss and advise she would not get sufficient care in the shape she was in but on Friday she was sent back at dinner time. This was a very difficult time for staff, who were busy with residents, and they had little notice of her return. It was too late to get meds, and no paper work from hospital came with her.

The next few weeks were very difficult for her, the staff, family. This is not the standard of care that we should expect for our loved ones.

Cutting care to save money

Management is cutting bedside hands-on nurses from full-time jobs to balance the budget by any and all means. It seems like they are never held responsible for maintaining patient safety guidelines and standards. To them, it's cheaper to have part-time/casual nurses rather than long-time, experienced nurses. The public, including myself, deserve safe and ethical care but how can a nurse provide this when government and management are only focussed on saving money. It is beyond stressful and unfair.

So overwhelmed

Nurses are so overwhelmed that it’s hard to even look after ourselves. On top of everything we are then exposed to violence that is unbelievable, yet we are left out of PTSD legislation. I have stories that would shock anybody willing to listen. I use to love my job, now all we do is say sorry to patients and try to survive. Patents suffer the most.

Ontario’s health care system is sick

Nurses and patients are suffering. My husband is sick with cancer and we have had to wait a long time to get help.

Ontario’s health care system is sick.

Nurses are burning out

I work in a mental health hospital. Staffing cutbacks in our hospital have lead to multiple staff hospitalizations due to volatile patients over the Christmas season. Burnout is high and staff morale is at an all time low; patients, staff and the public as a whole suffer from cutbacks.

A second career threatened

I pursued nursing as a second career.

Once I began my training to become a Registered Nurse, I thought that I would never be out of work again. I had never heard of any health care facility closing down or restructuring. The first place that hired me was a long-term care home where I worked for six years. I didn't realize how wrong I was. 

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Wrong on every level

Years ago, me and many of the people I went to school with could only find part time work as an RN or no job at all. We had people hounding us to pay our school loans, we could not support our families and we were forced to leave the country to find work.

I have lived far away from my family for years in order to have work. I paid off my school loans in one year, paid off my vehicle, paid for my son’s university education and bought a home – everything that I should have been able to do in Canada. 

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Emergency Department overflowing

Since recent budget cuts where I work, there have been bed cuts and an influx of admitted patients in the emergency department, staying an average of 24 hours. It’s really unfair for the patients and unsafe for the department as a whole.

RNs holding hospital to account

I am disgusted with the state of our healthcare system and so I am not surprised they would want to eliminate more Registered Nursing positions. After all it is the RN that holds the hospital accountable for the corners that continue to be cut, jeopardizing the quality of care that should be delivered, and depleting the job satisfaction that was once there.

My role as a RN in psychiatry has been reduced to consulting with patients and then sending them back to their family doctor because the demand for treatment cannot be met.

It is heartbreaking.

RN Shortages cause a plethora of problems

RN shortages are causing so many problems.

Patients are waiting longer for nurses to get to them in order to provide basic care such as toileting and bathing. Medications are not being given on time. Acuity is at an all time high and patients are becoming more complex and coming in with multiple co-morbidities. Patient stays are increasing.

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Firsthand account of cutbacks

For the last four years I have been in and out of hospitals with a serious medical condition. I have seen firsthand how all the cutbacks have affected our nurses who are our frontline people. 

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After 29 years of service

I am a veteran nurse of almost 29 years. Of those years, I have spent 23 in emergency care. The current cutbacks are stretching resources and necessitating makeshift "crisis" nursing care strategies.

In this context, I feel less and less like I am able to finish my workday feeling I have done my job well. I have been upset at the end of numerous shifts about the care I have been able to provide due to dangerous stretching of both staffing and physical resources for our patients. 

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Patients pay the price

The emergency department is overcrowded and is causing a significant decline in care. For the most part, the department runs as a full inpatient unit combined with an emergency department.

Our health care system is failing us, and it’s our patients that pay the price.

Set up for tragedy

One RN is assigned for a night shift caring for 224 vulnerable long-term care residents. The tragedy is surely coming.

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare in Ontario

Nurses are the backbone of quality health care in Ontario!

I have been hospitalized numerous times in the past few years with a serious heart condition and an autoimmune affliction. The care and compassion I received from the nurses was second to none and was instrumental in my recovery.

It takes a special person to be a nurse and they deserve more respect and appreciation than increasing their workload through cutbacks!

Down with the ship

All we hear is "budget, budget" while our patients are getting more complex all the time. It seems to me there are more and more executive positions being created and our hospital CEO gets a huge paycheck (and it seems his job is secure).

Isn’t it honourable for captains to go down with the ship, or at least donate part of their salary to save the ship?

Working while short-staffed

Everyday we work short staffed. Everyday they are constantly calling in people for overtime. We need more nurses!

It’s not fair to the patient to lay in bed completely dependent on nurses and not get the attention they need because the nurse is running in circles trying to keep up with the workload! This is insane. We need to respect and think about the safety and needs of patients.

First-hand patient experience

I am a patient and I know first-hand there are not enough nurses. I see them running around disconnecting and connecting dialysis machines, trying to make sure everything is done on time.

Long-term care is severely understaffed

In the long-term care facility where I work, there is 1 RN for 152 residents. Each resident is allotted 2.5-3.5 hours of care per day from Personal Support Workers and Registered Practical Nurses.

RNs only get paid for 8 hours, but routinely stay past the end of their shift, working for free. I work each hour providing care to the best of my ability.

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Unit closures and management bonuses

Where I work, a whole, newly built floor and three other units have been closed and their patients redistributed to other units. Meanwhile senior management continues to get bonuses the more cuts they make to reduce the deficit. I think the public should know what’s going on.

Responsibility has become overwhelming

I have worked in critical care for 34 years. And it was better back then, let me say that first. Nurses did not have two ventilators plus two more patients like now.

I seriously question my vocation everyday.

The stress and responsibility placed onto our shoulders today is enormous. Patient, colleague, team leader, charge nurse, manager, doctor, pharmacy are but a few roles pulling at us everyday all day long. It is overwhelming.

Patients are left in pain

In the hospital where I work only two of the four surgical pods have RNs.

If a post-op needs an epidural to control pain then they have to be placed into a specific room because only an RN can administer it. So I have had epidurals removed in recovery because there was no RN.

Patients are having epidurals taken out and are being left in pain because there aren’t enough RNs.

Who takes care of nurses?

Last month something so heart wrenching happened that it changed my perspective forever.

I went up to the surgical floor to make contact with someone because I couldn’t reach anyone on the phone. I walked around through two surgical pods seeing no one.

Then I heard a faint noise. I walked around the desk and there I see an RN crouched on the floor sobbing.

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We've got to get louder

My daughter is an RN. Often parents of the children that are her patients criticize the quality of care, unaware of her workload with complex patients.

Sometimes when she updates charts, which is often the first time she’s sat down all day, without meal or washroom breaks, she gets accused of sitting around while their child needs something. She’s working hard, and has no support.

We’ve got to get louder!

Pediatric units are suffering

I have been an RN since 2013 and my specialization is Pediatrics. Our unit is small, and seemingly always teeming with sick babies, young children and teenagers. Their health conditions range from minor to life threatening. 

As it is a small unit, we have a smaller staff pool than other units, which is both a blessing and a curse. We are a tight knit group that works together to bring good health and joy to the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. But we are all worked to the bone every single day.

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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.

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Respect nurses work

There is no respect for nurses. We seem to place priority on who complains the most instead of what needs to be done to meet patients’ medical needs.

It is crazy to be working under such stress.

Even when patients are satisfied with the care they receive, cutbacks mean nurses are asked to do more and more every day. We are told to remove dirty linens and garbage in addition to our nursing duties. These are some of the things that prevent patients from receiving proper nursing care.

Retiring nurses aren't replaced

We are not replacing RNs who retire or leave their jobs.

I was hired by a regional hospital to cover an absence due to Long-Term Disability (LTD). The position was full-time and my job was contract. At the end of my contract, the hospital’s story changed and I was told that I was, in fact, covering a maternity leave.

The employer did not hire to fill the full-time RN position that is vacant due to LTD. Instead, it dissolved the position and is attempting to cover it with part-timers.

A patient in pain

I was in hospital and it was the day before I was to be discharged.

I was in a semi-private room with a lady who was about 40 years old and this lady was in a great deal of pain. I pushed the button to get help for her but no one came so I went down to the nurse’s station to get help for this lady and only one nurse was at the desk and no other nurses were around. 

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Maintaining the highest standards of care

Many people who have medical conditions that involved surgeries and hospital care realize the fantastic teams involved including our family doctor, surgeon and their operating room team, and last but not least our day and night nurses who contribute to our quick and healthy recovery.

Please let us work together to find solutions for our hospitals to maintain the very highest standards that we all need and want.

We can do this now.

Doing more with less

As a seasoned nurse, I have had the opportunity to work in various hospital settings. Over the years, nurses have been asked to do more with less.

The most recent cuts will further reduce registered nursing hours and put the patients at risk by replacing highly skilled, experienced nurses with alternative caregivers. Although there is definitely a place for all health care workers in the system, it should not be at the cost of patient safety and outcomes. Most hospitalized patients are not “stable,” that is why they are in hospital.

Getting rid of the staff who have the most experience and education to treat unstable patients is not what Ontarians' want when they are ill.

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Home care is suffering under our current government

My husband died two months ago due to lung cancer. He was pushed out the door when he should have been in the hospital. I am a 77-year-old senior and I had to take care of him mostly at home where his bowels would lose control.

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We need nurses

My husband has been to emergency twice and hospitalized both times. The nurses who cared for him were incredibly kind and responsive to his needs. They also helped me through very trying times. I want to thank them and all the nurses for being there for us.

However, the last time we were in emergency, there was one nurse managing many, many patients.

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Before it's too late

I experienced health issues in the past and spent more than 4 months in a hospital. I was very sick and needed a lot of care.

All the nurses were very helpful and attended to my needs… But there were times when a nurse wasn’t around when my roommate or I needed them.

At nighttime especially there weren’t enough nurses working. You will have to wait 20-35 minutes at times. It’s a problem. We need our health care and all our nurses.

Please keep all our nurses working before it’s too late!

Replacing RNs at the bedside

I have witnessed how RNs have been relegated to the position of being a resource in name only. RNs are being replaced with RPNs, removing the assessment skills of RNs from the bedside. Assessments are not being done, care is task driven by RPNs, changes in acuity are being missed and the patient suffers.

Hands tied

My father, a very proud man, was recovering in the hospital, with four people in his room. He needed a portable toilet so the nurse went to find one. The nurse returned to advise the few that they had were being used. My father was so anxious and embarrassed! Subsequently, staff had to spend additional time cleaning him and changing the bedding.

This left me wondering how many hours in a day is spent cleaning up other patients when it could have been prevented had the equipment been available. Front line staff must feel like they have to do their duties with their hands tied behind their backs.

Patients suffer when workloads are increased

I am a Registered Nurse who is disabled and can no longer work. I have worked during previous funding cuts to health care.

The effects of these cuts impact not only the patients but the nurses also. With increased workloads the patients suffer because we are not able to provide the same level of care and time to care for our patients. This results in longer hospital stays for the patients, more complications such as bedsores, and increased sick time for nurses.

The government doesn’t care about the public. We nurses treat our patients with the same care no matter who they are and we believe that every patient deserves high quality care.

Our government does not value nurses

After 34 years of nursing, I was put in the position of laying an assault charge against a patient recently. This happened because of three things: inappropriate admission of a violent patient to a general unit, inadequate staffing, and an unsafe work environment.

I was assaulted despite numerous past episodes, documented and verbally communicated to hospital management. Fearing for my coworkers and myself and worried about impending increases to beds in our unit, I am pursuing charges. Taking this action has been difficult and I feel goes against my role as a caregiver. But I have no other recourse.

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An RN's compassion can't be replaced

My father was recently admitted to hospital. He had lung cancer, which spread to his spine. Needless to say, he had a great deal of pain and stress. He was in hospital for 3.5 weeks before passing away.

I can’t say enough about how kind and gracious and highly skilled the RNs were. Our family spent many hours at his bedside and we came to know and care for them. 

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Nursing care is irreplaceable

I was in hospital for five months and the nurse that took care of me always made me feel like I was the most important person to her, even though she had so many patients.

I don’t know if I could have gotten though my stay with out that help. She made me feel that there was always someone there for me.

Nurses are integral to our health

I’m a late career nurse who moved from acute care to public health 11 years ago.

Our family experienced up close and personally what is happening in acute care recently at the very hospital that I was proud to work at for greater than 20 years.Our family member was ‘admitted-no bed’ in the emergency department of the local hospital; he never received a bath (except for the one I provided in the patient washroom) and he took his own vitals (he is also a retired RN).

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Changes to funding structures

 My mother-in-law's access to care in her home was inadequate. She was approved for 30 minutes per week to have someone assist her with a bath and 15 additional minutes on alternating weeks to do her laundry.

I mentioned the barriers she was faced with only to be told there was no money for additional assistance for her. I went on the Ontario government’s website and was surprised to read about how they are investing money to care for seniors at home to give them integrity. I have come to the conclusion that either the government has not met their commitment or, what money was allocated to the program is being spent on the administrative level. Funding is not benefiting patients or front line staff.

Don't replace RNs with RPNs

I was diagnosed with a serious illness and spent time in the hospital. It was the nursing staff that took care of me 24 hours a day. They provided the mental, physical and medical treatments to make me stronger. 

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A healthcare system left floundering

My husband was hospitalized twice about four years ago. During the most recent of the two admissions, while confined to bed, his IV antibiotic bags were twice found not to be running at all. There were many other issues.

Nurses overworked? RPN’s not educated to hang IV meds properly? I don’t know the answers but as a RN (retired but with many years critical care experience) I felt very sad to see that the quality of care was so inconsistent.

In a political situation where it is silently known that the majority of hospital budgets go to administration costs and the remainder to the actual delivery of care, it isn’t rocket science to understand why our health care situation in Ontario is floundering.

12 Hour shifts — without breaks

I am tired of not getting breaks, having to learn how to survive a 12 hour shift off of one meal. I am tired of coming to work each day knowing there won’t be enough nurses and the patients will suffer.

Close the patient to nurse ratio gap

Everyday I walk into my shift answering an array of call bells and meeting multiple patients.

I can’t even count how many times I have had patients upset with me because they had to wait for their call bell to be answered, wait to go to the bathroom, wait to be washed up, waiting for pain medication.

They are always waiting. 

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