Nurses Calling it Quits in B.C.
- 0Jul 26, '01 by iseeu270I am one of those BC nurses that has put in my resignation and
am going to the US. I can not stand anymore of the bulling
patriarchial schmuckie patronizing behavior of some of these
liberal male cabinet ministers. Colin Hansen was on the news
tonight and I almost got sick with his politicing. I invite him to
spend any night in the trenchs with us in the hospitals espescially
the hot spots. He can come sit right at the new desk I have
in the back forty of ER (which is now the ICU) right under a
exhaust fan that blows dust and god knows what else and
beside this there isn't even enough room between beds for the
patients to break wind. I am going because there is slightly
better staffing and patient nurse ratios and better educational
opportunities and support, not for the money or the benifits.
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- 0Jul 27, '01 by Janet BarclayCareful iseeu,
I know several nurses lured to the US with promises of great money, signing bonuses etc. When they come home, the word is that working conditions stink, espescailly if they are making big promises.
I don't suppose I could talk you into coming to Alberta? I know, I know, the waether stinks!
- 0Jul 30, '01 by lalaxtonAs a Canadian RN who has worked in both countries I also have to caution you about coming to the US. You will quickly realise that your union does more for you than you think. Many nurses here have no protection and no recourse when management makes decisions that affect you. For example: I have worked in a LTC facility (for profit) that consistently sent staff home when the unit was full, we later found out that the DON and her assisstant were getting bonuses for keeping staffing costs down, leaving us overworked and the patients at risk.
You will find facilities in worse shape than the one you are in, especially if they care for 'indigent' patients. You may find nurseatient ratios up to 1:10 on day shift on the floor and 1:4 in the ICU.
Pick and choose your hospital wisely and ask lots of questions before you get there. Better yet take a travel assignment first to check out the hospital before you commit!
Good luck, but remember the grass is not always greener, you may be trading one set of problems for another....
- 0Aug 2, '01 by bunkyI totally agree with lalaxton. I am down here, without a union, and yes, I am making really great money working for a staffing agency. The drawback is that my employers health insurance benefits are really bad, and I elected to insure myself and my kids through a private plan which I pay $289 a month for. The benefits I get from this plan are NOTHING compared to what you currently have. The working conditions here are no better, I promise you.
If you work full time for a hospital here, you're salary is around the $20/hr mark, and don't forget that if you want healthcare benefits, you'll pay in the neighbourhood of $110-120 a paycheque to cover yourself and any kids you have , it doesn't matter if you have 6 kids, you pay the same rate which kind of makes me mad as you'd think that it'd make a difference but it doesn't. And despite paying that insurance premium there is still a deductible, and the drug benefits are a joke compared to up there! Taxes are lower, but when you deduct the benefits from your cheque and you go to the doctor and still end up paying a bill because you haven't met your deductible yet, and then to the pharmacy to pick up your medication and pay through the nose for it you'll realize exactly what you left behind for THIS?! I have laughingly called the benefits here "Benefits that aren't really of benefit" by comparison to there. And the holiday pay and sick time, workmens comp, maternity leave, UIC? Forget it! It doesn't even come close to what you have there.
I also agree with lalaxton's suggestion that you do a stint as a travelling nurse for awhile and check out the working conditions for yourself before you commit to anything more permanent.
On the plus side, many hospitals do pay for continuing education, even paying you to attend these courses. Your potential new co-workers will be happy to see you too because they are tired and overworked and you're a fresh warm body.
Think it over carefully before you do anything radical though. Had I been able to walk into a full time job in Ontario (gee for that matter, ANY nursing job cause there were none) I wouldn't have left. Now that I am here, I have made a life for myself, incurred debt in US dollars that if I were to move home I'd be buried by due to the exchange rate, so I stay. If I were in your shoes, working full time, I'd share your frustrations but knowing what I know about the conditions here, I'd stay put up there.
- 0Aug 2, '01 by fergus51It's interesting to hear your perspective Bunky. I worked in the States and did return, but am finding it to be worse here. The hospital you work at makes all the difference, but benes aren't what they used to be because we are often hired as casuals rather than fulltimers. I work more than full time, yet I am still classified as a casual. Our province is offering less and less incentives for nurses to stay. I made more as a new grad in the US than I am making now with a few years experience. All things considered, I am seriously thinking about moving back if this contract does not hold some improvements. I am not ashamed to say that I deserve to be paid what I am worth and deserve to be able to have a life outside the hospital.
- 0Aug 2, '01 by bunkyBut fergus would you feel that way if you were full time there? I agree that the current practice of hiring only part time employee's and not opening up full time positions is making matters far worse back home. You'd think that in a nursing shortage, they'd get the hint that nurses are fed up with part-time jobs. I understand that some hospitals there were actually offering sign-on bonuses to lure back those of us that left to come home and work part time! That's crazy! I wouldn't give up my current full-time job to run back to that part time lifestyle. But... if I had full time there, I wouldn't be leaving it for this.
It's true that you can walk into a fulltime job in almost any hospital here, but the hospitals really aren't paying their full time employees very well in my area either, and they treat their employees even worse, because they can, no union. And here's what else happens when there is no union. The agency I work for, just announced a pay raise, and a 31% raise at that, and that will put me making almost $20/hr more than the hospital staff that I work alongside with! That's why I suggested that iseeu270 try travel nursing here first, because being a hospital employee here does NOT pay, and in this area, the workloads are down right scary these days, no matter who you work for. Like lalaxton, I too have seen how patients get put at risk rather than management cancelling a surgery here due to lack of staffing! They put all of us at risk, and don't seem to give a rats a** about anything other than profit.
Guys I'd really think this over hard before you pack your bags to head south. Try a travel nurse job here and see it for yourself first. It's getting worse and worse here. I sympathize with your plight up there, and understand only too well how frustrating it is to work part time and never seem to build up enough seniority to go full time, but don't burn your bridges.
- 0Aug 2, '01 by fergus51I definitely agree with you Bunky, that I would be much happier here if I was in a full time position. I wouldn't mind agency work as I understand you cand ecide when you'll be available.
I worked at a union hospital in Washington and am starting to wonder why I came back. The conditions were about the same, and both offered the protection of a union, just the pay was a lot better there. I just really like home and don't want to leave it. I love BC and all the activities it has to offer. I love being able to drive 20 minutes out of town to lakes, hiking, etc. I just wish my job allowed me more freedom to enjoy the things the province has to offer.
- 0Aug 3, '01 by bunkyYes, as an agency nurse I decide my schedule, and that's really great, but the job itself is just the same.
I actually talked to a recruiting company from BC, and was so disheartened to learn about the part time thing still going on. When will they learn? How many nurses have to leave before they catch on?
PS. Fergus tell me what are the "fast ferries" I've been reading about here? Sounds hillarious in a typical governmental kinda way. And, I've been to BC and I don't think I'd wanna leave there either. It's gorgeous!Last edit by bunky on Aug 3, '01
- 0Aug 3, '01 by Heather56I would just like to mention that there are other issues at stake in our contract negotiations with heabc. on top of the money heabc wants to include some concessions. The highest amount they give only applies after a nurse has reached the equivalent of 9 years seniority as opposed to our current max at 6 years(steps). heabc had requested the removal of "designated days off" for part-time employees because they believe that these rns only pick up work on these days to get the overtime. removing designated days off means that overtime is only applied to work done in excess of a certain amount of time/shifts. This, of course, allows the employer to use part-time people as casuals by frequently calling them in to work when it won't be ot. One other thing that heabc wants to do is change the language around the call in of casual rns. I have worked in a casual position for 8 years and it was a real coup for us when call-in by seniority was emplemented in our last contract. Prior to that shifts booked were at the mercy of the unit clerk and some of them used it as a power tool! Call in by seniority is one of the few things casuals have gotten over the years and to loose it would be such a drag. Anyway I just wanted to bring up some of the non-monetary issues involved in this contract dispute.