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Difference in Canadian vs American lab values, medications, and patient care.

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by Bobacia12 Bobacia12, BSN (New) New

Specializes in ER nurse. Has 5 years experience.

Hi all!

I am a Minnesota ER nurse that will be soon starting an ER position in Ontario Canada.

I am wondering what differences are found in nursing between Canada and the US.  Differences meaning; different lab values, different commonly used medications, differences in basic patient care, etc.

Some that come to mind for me are; weight, temperature, blood glucose.  Any others?

Any dual nurses out there that can help?

Thanks! :)

Fiona59

Has 18 years experience.

We're metric.  So learn kilos, centimetres (height and weight)  Temps taken in degrees centigrade.  Blood sugars are in mmols.

Basic patient care?  Minimal nursing aides on units, esp. ER (service workers are there to clean the bays, change stretchers and don't provide patient care).  LPNs carry their own assignments and don't do the care of RN's patients.  And yes, there are LPNs in many ERs

Bobacia12, BSN

Specializes in ER nurse. Has 5 years experience.

2 hours ago, Fiona59 said:

We're metric.  So learn kilos, centimetres (height and weight)  Temps taken in degrees centigrade.  Blood sugars are in mmols.

Basic patient care?  Minimal nursing aides on units, esp. ER (service workers are there to clean the bays, change stretchers and don't provide patient care).  LPNs carry their own assignments and don't do the care of RN's patients.  And yes, there are LPNs in many ERs

Thank you, that is a big help!  Is there any other lab values that are different between the countries?  Or any big medication name differences that you have noticed?  

14 hours ago, Bobacia12 said:

Thank you, that is a big help!  Is there any other lab values that are different between the countries?  Or any big medication name differences that you have noticed?  

The units for labs such as White blood Cell, hemoglobin, and RBC are a bit different here. That's also something to keep in mind and I suggest you look this up yourself. The generic names for medications are a bit different (gravol for dramamine) and some of the medications used are a bit different here as well. Subcutaneous insulin is not a double check medication in BC, (where I am at, originally did BSN in WA state). Many hospitals still don't have computer charting, and use paper MARs.

Most acute Med/Surg units have no cnas where I am at or it's just one CNA per floor. Cnas are called care aids here and have limited practice scope compared to the States, just strict ADLs and Vital Signs at very specific hospitals. You work with LPNs as well in most units aside from highly specialized areas (depends on the province). You work 12 hour rotating days and night shifts here (4 shifts on 4 days off with some 5 days off, also depends on the province you work in). The benefits are generally better here (extended health benefits and maternity leave especially) but pay is less depending on which province you decide to work. There are a whole ton of differences between Canadian nursing vs US nursing and it took me a couple years to get used to it. Hope that helps.

Edited by dayandnight

Bobacia12, BSN

Specializes in ER nurse. Has 5 years experience.

Thank you!!