Best working conditions for English speaking nurses in Montreal?

  1. Hi there,

    I am originally a nurse from the united states, a year ago I moved to Montreal where I work in one of the English operating hospitals. I have worked here for over a year a have had a bad experience. Don't get me wrong, the people I work with are amazing, it is true team work. But the working conditions are very bad compared to my other jobs I held in the States. Some of the issues: there is only one orderly for an entire unit, we usualy have to do everything ourselves; I am literally doing the job of a CNA and a nurse with a higher patient load. also, I only have half a break of what I'm entitled to get and it's so busy that we often have to work 30-45 minutes past our shift (we don't get payed for this time). Further we have to come in at least a half hour early (for free) just so that we can perform safe nursing care or otherwise I would leave even later. On top of this, we are literally running around the entire time, charting maybe consists of 30 minutes of the time. I have never worked as hard as this before. Many times when I come home my legs are swollen and I have ruptured blood vessels from being on my feet so intensely and so long. I was warned that Canadian nursing was not like the Sates. But maybe I'm just on a wrong unit or the wrong hospital?

    I'm just curious about other people's experiences or maybe recommendations for other working situations here in Montreal for someone like me with very basic French.

  2. Visit blue-sky profile page

    About blue-sky

    Joined: Mar '10; Posts: 7


  3. by   loriangel14
    The only thing I can comment on is the lack of CNAs (PSWs in Ontario).Most hospitals don't employ any sort of aide in Ontario, perhaps it is the same in Quebec. I don't really know how it is across Canada, maybe some others will chime in.

    It does sounds like you are on a busy floor.It could just be the unit.Are you in a unionized work place?
  4. by   blue-sky
    Yes, my hospital is unionized but I really don't want to push this in this direction. I know of some people recently who tried to illicit changes for the better only to fail. There are a lot of politics on this unit that I'm seeing are very ugly. There is an extremely high turn over rate here and 2 nurses just flat out quit their positions on this unit in the last 2 weeks due to some issues relating to how things overate unfavorably for nurses on this floor. I think at this point, the only thing to do is to search for another unit at this point.

    Thank you for your input
  5. by   loriangel14
    But if there was an issue why didn't they go to the union? That's what they are there for.
  6. by   joanna73
    I can't speak for the OP, but I have heard of politics being so ugly on certain units resulting in workers too intimidated to contact their union. In fact, a couple of my friends were told, "Don't make waves...", when they voiced concerns on their unit. I find this ridiculous, and you can bet that contacting the union is exactly what would happen. Again and again, and again...until the situation is rectified. But that's me.
  7. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    I know of one such unit, joanna73. The unit management views any sort of reporting on working conditions to be personal attacks... character assassination if you will. Working conditions ultimately have a negative effect on so many other aspects such as patient and staff safety, job satisfaction, staff morale, sick time, staff turnover... you name it. Throw in incredibly high overtime and you've got a situation ripe for disaster. All the picnics and potlucks in the world aren't going to change the morale on units like that. But don't report your working conditions because they'll get mad at you and it will only get worse! A couple of nurses on that unit have reported legitimate concerns to the union and years later are still being blackballed by management. Others look at that example and are determined NOT to follow that path. Intimidation is a strong weapon.
  8. by   blue-sky
    Yes, that is exactly why We will get punished and we have seen it done.
  9. by   joanna73
    Start looking for a new job. Is it possible for you to relocate? Working conditions and pay are better out west (Manitoba, Sask, AB) than Que and ON. Just make sure you have an offer before moving. You can apply online, and many facilities will conduct phone interviews. You may need to move rural, but if you're open to that, there are jobs.
  10. by   blue-sky
    I unfortunately cannot relocate since I moved here to be with my boyfriend and my family is only 6 hrs away driving distance in the states. I know the pay here is low compared to other territories. I think my next plan is to look into working for an agency and possibly do some part time work back at home in the states. I'm going to have to do some research.
  11. by   joanna73
    Then that's the plan. Look in the phone book and online for nursing agencies in your area. You could also look at Ottawa if Que isn't to your liking, but that means you need to apply for an ON license.
  12. by   blue-sky
    thank you
  13. by   joanna73
    You're welcome
  14. by   just4
    I would say that working a hospital in Montreal is challenging and will get worse both because there is an enormous budget deficit and because there is governmental corruption at all levels. The only place you might find relieve is if you transfer to a specialty unit such as ER or ICU where the nurse to patient ratio is much better but you end up doing CNA tasks yourself. I did som part time through agencies in nursing homes but the working conditions are no better, one nurse is responsible for a lot of residents. There is plenty of greener grass in other pastures so you really need to assess whether it is really worth it to sacrifice yourself for someone that is just a boyfriend.