i.c.u. nursing in Canada

World International


I am currently working in a cadiothoracic intensive care unit in England, and I am considering emigrating to Canada and of course working there. I wonder if anyone who works or has worked in an intensive care unit in Canada can tell what it's like. What is the patient to staff ratio? The rate of pay? The conditions? and so on. I would be particularly interested in hospitals in the Toronto area, but I am interested in all areas of your lovely country.


6,620 Posts

You can get the rates of pay at our unions' websites. In BC, it is http://www.bcnu.org and I think they have links to other provincial unions. You could go to http://www.hospitalsoup.com , click on Canadian hospitals, then Ontario then Toronto and see their websites. I don't work ICU, but our ICU nurses are guaranteed a ratio of no more than 3 patients ever, usually 2 patients for one nurse.


487 Posts

I do work in IUC and we always have a one to one ration- UNLESS the pt is extubated, awaiting transfer out to a step down and is totally stable. Then you might be doubled with another stable extubated pt.

We are governed by a strong union and our rate of pay varies from 21 to 36 dollars an hour, depending on what rate of pay you qualifiy for.( previous experience, years in nursing)


9 Posts

JMP wrote: "our rate of pay varies from 21 to 36 dollars an hour"

JMP, are you with ONA? I'm at the top of the scale and I'm only getting $32.70.

Jay-Jay, RN

633 Posts

Okay, I am not an ICU nurse, but here's my take on ICU staffing in a Toronto area hospital which shall remain nameless. This happened 3 1/2 years ago. I was sent to the ICU on a short term assignment to look after a stable but very heavy care vented patient with ALS. What I saw there was scary. The ICU was divided into 2 halves, east and west, each working independently of the other. One day while the other nurses on my side of the ICU were on supper, a patient started to crash. We had ONE nurse on duty, and me, who wasn't qualified to read monitors, or even suction my vented patient. That nurse begged me to go and sit at the nursing station and watch the monitors while she tended her patient. I wouldn't have known a cardiac arrythmia if it had hit me over the head, but I at least knew what the norms were for vital signs and O2 sats. I watched for a good 20 minutes until some of the other nurses finally got back from their supper break.

By then, the patient who was crashing had had a central arterial line inserted, and they were about to put her on a vent. She came out of it okay, and was transferred to the stepdown unit less than a week later. Still, it's scary to think what might have happened during those 20 minutes.....


487 Posts

Yes I am with ONA- and you are right- top of the pay is what you quoted, and it was my mistake..... I was adding a few things in there like shift diffs .... weekend diffs.... and many part time RN's make much more than 36 dollars when you include in lieu payments.

I am not at the top( yet) .........

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