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Mandated to serve


I’m in Canada, and the healthcare system gets its money from the government. That’s resulted in conflicts of interest in the past, government passes laws removing union powers because contract talks aren’t going well. They don’t hold back because of ethics.

One of our nursing home complexes is overrun with COVID patients, and positive staff are off work so they have a staffing shortage. They were looking for volunteers to come from out of town to staff the nursing home, offering accommodation and travel expenses,

Apparently that didn’t work out, and they’ve mandated a unit of the local acute care hospital to go to the nursing home on their regular shifts. The province is under a state of emergency, so they use that power to send nurses to an entirely different facility and specialty. I’m furious. They could have offered extra pay to people and they would have gotten volunteers... didn’t even try.


Specializes in SCRN. Has 7 years experience.

This sucks, I'm sorry. In my home country the healthcare workers are also mandated during emergency. Even the dentists.

Sour Lemon

Has 11 years experience.

WOW! I can't even imagine how stressful that would be. It almost seems like being in the army, or something.

Edited by Sour Lemon

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience.

They did the exact same thing in Riverside, California (USA). When the staff at a nursing home didn't show up to work, they brought in nurses from Riverside University Health and Kaiser Permanente to fill in:


You think it's bad in Canada? Try coming here to Texas where most of the hospital systems don't have unions and the for-profit systems (e.g., HCA) proliferate.

Plus, you could always quit. Nobody can force you to perform nursing duties at gunpoint.

On 4/20/2020 at 2:15 AM, A Hit With The Ladies said:

Plus, you could always quit. Nobody can force you to perform nursing duties at gunpoint.

If your employer forced you to perform nursing duties at gunpoint, that might be less offensive than what they’re doing to nurses in the US right now. If someone points a gun at you in the US, you have the legal right to bring out your own gun and use it. There’s a slim possibility you can disarm your oppressor and stick their gun somewhere uncomfortable (for them). The public would likely support you for doing so. You might even get a free defense lawyer if the press noticed your case.

By ordering someone to work in an unsafe environment during this pandemic, as you mentioned- the employee’s only choice is to quit. Probably without notice, which makes future employment at “good” jobs less likely. The employee (and their dependents) lose their health insurance within a few days, possibly a month in the best case. During an epidemic. The employee loses seniority, vacation time, preferred shifts, vesting in a retirement plan, and most importantly to most - income. Plus, there’s no unemployment insurance benefits available. And, you’re competing for jobs with furloughed and underemployed nurses with “good” references in a pool of employers that in many cases aren’t actively hiring (even if they’ve still got ads seeking nurses at the jobs sites). And, a large segment of the population won’t support you. Some will say “you signed up for this” - even here, a population of readers who should have an understanding of the issues with things like PPE and Microbiology.

I understand that you’re actually on the same side on this issue - which I’ve gotten to think about a lot because I did quit a job during covid - not because I was afraid for myself, so much as I was afraid for the risk my employer was exposing my patients to- using my license. In retrospect, I would have greatly preferred that my former employer used a gun in their thuggish behavior, rather than a pen and a bought-and-paid-for government regulatory scheme. I’d have had a much better chance of a “happy ending” had I been ordered into an unsafe workplace at gunpoint.

Silverdragon102, BSN

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 33 years experience.

Guessing on province as probably same province I live in. Everyone tried to get volunteers to go to the nursing home, unions tried as did the government the issues is offering more money, unions wouldn’t stand for it as then they would have to look at offering others more money and the government isn’t going to do that. Unfortunately the nursing home has been hit very hard and I really feel for them and if I lived closer I may have considered volunteering however I like many others have other commitments to think off and moving even for a short period just isn’t viable