Casualization of the Canadian RN workplace

  1. I am sure that many of the nurses in the US do not have this problem...but here in Ontario, Canada the hospitals are still locked into the mind set that they will hire part time or casual only.... I am about to graduate this spring and have had many offers from US employers for FULL TIME work. I had another call today from a local hospital in Ontario who wants me in for an interview.......when I asked about the job- and all I said was...."can you tell me..is it part time?" she snorted and said.."well yes..." and then said "of course". This bothers me to no end....she was an assistant to the head nurse who wanted to interview me and I felt like asking her if she was part time.
    There has been alot of press lately about Canadians leaving for the US and one article in particular hit the nail on the head when it quoted a Canadian RN who said " I did not leave Canada for the money...I left because in the US they offer you a chance to have a career.......not just work".
    Part time here means being called in all the time..no set schedule for your life and no benefits. Where else would you go to school for three years and be faced with a situation like this.
    I will go for the interview- it will be a good experience BUT the US is certainly looking like my first choice so far.
    By a yard.

    JMP
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Mijourney
    Hi JMP. Congratulation on your achievements and welcome to nursing. Before you come to the states for work, make sure you thoroughly research a potential employer in the U.S before saying yes to make sure that you would feel comfortable working for that employer. There is a great protest in progress by many nurses (this is in the media) that we are not being taken seriously as professionals.

    There is, however, a growing shortage of experienced nurses and new graduates. Many employers have intensified their search for experienced nurses to fill full time positions. I'm not exactly sure of the market in the U.S. for new grads but I bet it's growing. Again, be cautious as I pointed out earlier in accepting any offer.

    I would be curious to know if the parttime/casual problem goes beyond Ontario, Canada, and if so what it is related to.

    In case you were not aware, nursing tends to attract women that are 2nd income earners, so it is not at all unusual to find a large number of the nursing work force part time or prn. This has changed dramatically in the last decase as more women find themselves as breadwinners.

    Perhaps Ontario is having some budget problems in their system? Best wishes on a find.


    [This message has been edited by Mijourney (edited February 28, 2001).]
  4. by   Mijourney
    Hi JMP. The protest over respect for nurses is also all over this bb.
  5. by   fergus51
    I know what you're going through, JMP. I am in BC and for YEARS the only jobs available were casual positions so the hospital didn't have to pay benefits or provide you with a decent schedule. Of coure, new grads left for full time. We Canadians really have a knack for shooting ourselves in the foot don't we? If you want to stay in Canada try looking in BC and Alberta. The hospitals here are starting to offer WAY more full time jobs because they finally realized they were shooting themselves in the foot, or they hire you as a casual and you wind up with a full time position within a few months.

    The US does hold a lot of appeal, I worked there myself and have returned to Canada for various reasons. You should definitely follow Mijourneys advice (she's a wise one). I know a few nurses who signed contracts for their dream jobs in Texas and Florida and wound up feeling like sweat shop workers.
  6. by   canoehead
    I was a nurse in Nova Scotia for 6 years and waited for a permanent position to come up. There were no full time permanent positions in those six years. I moved to Maine and got a full time job in a specialty unit immediately with better pay, lower cost of living, more educational benefits and a nurse manager who knew me by name; not to mention the DON, the CEO, and many many welcomes from other departments around the hospital. It was lonely and tough at first. I really didn't want to leave home, but they made their choice, and I have made mine.

    I would be willing to go back if they would match the pay I'm getting here, and pay my moving expenses, but I guarantee that Canadian hospitals have no ability, and no intention of meeting the same standards as US employers. Plus I don't need to deal with clients that have had to wait for months for their procedures, have been neglected by the health care system and come in angry (and justifiably so).

    It's very sad to think of home this way but it's true.

  7. by   Lynn Casey RN
    Hi JMP!I know exactly what you are talking about!I am from New Brunswick and I know how frustrating it is.I guess your priorities should make your decision,home or $$$$!I left a fulltime position last year to go part time by choice.I work 1st day,1st night of a 2 12 hour day,2 12 hour night 5 day off rotation.I like that I can book whenever I want to work and trust me there is no problem getting hours!I work half the weekends and 66 instead of 75 hours and make the same!(Increment for casual shift)You only get half the vacation and half the sick time but that's all I need.My partner and I trade off shifts so I can get several days off in between.I get time and a half on my w/e's off so I can work 5 shifts and still get a fulltime equivalent pay!I love it!You get full medical/dental.I think parttime is the best kept secret in the world!The US does howver have more opportunites,career wise.I know someone without a degree who made $50,000/year USD to be a Dr's right hand man!Education perks and bonuses!(We don't get that here!!)Good Luck!
  8. by   bigjay
    Hi JMP. I can sympathize with your frustration and I agree with the ass-backwards approach Ontario hospitals have to new hires. At my hospital staff are pretty much never hired into a permanant position. The climate right now is such that they can immediately get a part or full-time but they can't go into it from outside. Pretty odd huh? Plus we are so short right now that there is a lot of resistance to taking permanant positions. On my floor alone we have 5 full time positions that have not been filled and have been posted and taken down. That leads to a pool of casuals staff that work full-time hours and don't want to go full-time because we are on a master schedule and right now they can get their hours, a 19% in lieu of vacation and set their own schedule. It's a very frustrating situation and leads to unstable staffing. From what I've heard of other hospitals, their situations are pretty similar.

    My advice would be to check out the job posting board of the hospital you're interviewing at to see what positions are available. Then check with human resources to see if their are any probation issues such as you cannot apply until 6 months, etc. This will give you an idea of how easy it will be to get a permanant position. Hope this helps!

    Cheers,
    J-P
  9. by   toronto rn
    Originally posted by JMP:
    I am sure that many of the nurses in the US do not have this problem...but here in Ontario, Canada the hospitals are still locked into the mind set that they will hire part time or casual only.... I am about to graduate this spring and have had many offers from US employers for FULL TIME work. I had another call today from a local hospital in Ontario who wants me in for an interview.......when I asked about the job- and all I said was...."can you tell me..is it part time?" she snorted and said.."well yes..." and then said "of course". This bothers me to no end....she was an assistant to the head nurse who wanted to interview me and I felt like asking her if she was part time.
    There has been alot of press lately about Canadians leaving for the US and one article in particular hit the nail on the head when it quoted a Canadian RN who said " I did not leave Canada for the money...I left because in the US they offer you a chance to have a career.......not just work".
    Part time here means being called in all the time..no set schedule for your life and no benefits. Where else would you go to school for three years and be faced with a situation like this.
    I will go for the interview- it will be a good experience BUT the US is certainly looking like my first choice so far.
    By a yard.

    JMP
    Hi JMP my advice is to immediately start working on a post diploma certificate, especially if you are interested in intensive care. At my hospital in toronto we have been hiring full time and part time, most of the hires have been recent/ new grads but all have had their icu certificate. The clinical component alone will give you a foot in the door. But yes you are right, the trend to only hire part timers has weighed heavily on the ongoing nursing shortage, especially for new grads who usually have major bills to pay,. In fact we have had 2 years now where nurses have taken leaves to work in the states over the winter, where the weather is kinder and the salaries are nicer, several ended up not returning.
  10. by   Nacoya
    Hi JMP,
    I think that casualization is part of the cause to Canada's nursing shortage. I'm in BC and will be graduating this august. The hospital I'm interested in working at, in Pediatrics, hires only casual to start. When I see ads like the one I just recently seen in the Province newspaper, "Would you like to earn a $10,000 sign-on bonus" to come work (full time), at one of Puget Sound's (Washington State) premier hospitals it is tempting to say the least. Hey, that could pay off a lot of student loan, I would get better pay, have a lower cost of living, still be close to home and not get taxed to death. I love BC, but if things don't change I'm going south. I especially feel sorry for the nurses with many years experience; our pay scale is so narrow about $21-$26 (and a few cents!), they truly don't get paid what they deserve. Alberta nurses get paid $32/hr, but it's just a little too chilly there for me.
  11. by   Michelle_nurse
    Hi, I am from Quebec...also graduating and TRUST ME it has to be the worst here. I am fortunate to start my career in a federal hospital, the conditions are a lot better but the rare permanent position is still an issue. When I go to clinical in the Montreal, provincial owned hospitals....I feel the shortage!!! Nurses are paid the lowest, than ANYWHERE, about $16-17 Canadian an hour. Everyone is over worked, unappreciated, and breaks and lunches are rare. Maybe the fact that I am graduating....(still a student) makes me more pessimistic, since I am also experiencing the "eating the young"...a whole other topic!!!
    I think this part time deal is an issue all across Canada, by the looks of it.
    Part time is good for those who WANT to work part time, for example,this summer, as a GPL..I want to only work part time, so I can pass the nasty new Quebec license exam (OSCE)!
  12. by   laurasc
    What do you think of the CNO's (for those who don't know, College of Nurses of Ontario, our licencing board)new rule that starting in 2005 you have to graduate with a minimum of a bachelor's degree to practice nursing in Ontario?

    Technically, I suppose it's a good thing, nursing is evolving. And Lord only knows I've been told over and over again that if I want to stay a nurse I will need my bachelor's....which I don't have and have no intention of getting. But I don't believe that now is a good time to implement something like this. There's already a shortage of new grads in both the diploma and degree programs COMBINED. What's going to happen when one of the programs ends? Not all students want to go to university...those students will go elsewhere. Someone said we shoot ourselves in the foot....they're not kidding.

    Laura



    [This message has been edited by laurasc (edited March 27, 2001).]

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