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What is Nursing like (Ontario)?

Canada   (1,470 Views 11 Comments)
by s3kovacs s3kovacs (New Member) New Member

73 Visitors; 3 Posts

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Hi there,

I'm considering going into a BScN program in Ontario in Fall 2019 but I'm not sure if it's the right path for me. I'm wondering what the program and job are like from the perspective of current students/relatively recent grads.

The description for the Nursing courses on university websites is really vague. What kind of stuff do you learn? Is it science- or essay-based, or something else? When do you start getting practical experience, and how many hours?

As for the job, I've heard some really negative stories. That jobs are hard to find, that you'll only get part-time hours, that you'll probably have to move to get hired, and that the shifts are are really crazy (alternating day/nights). Is any of that true? Could you give me a rundown of what you might do in a shift?

I know I'm asking a lot but hopefully someone can answer one or two of my questions at least!

Thanks.

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11 Likes; 1 Follower; 1,381 Visitors; 79 Posts

Well, I'm doing the Rpn to rn program so my experience is probably a tiny bit different than someone doing the BScN but it's similar enough that I think I can give you a decent idea.

You will learn pretty comprehensive information on anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology (study of disease processes in the body), nursing theory, ethics, leadership, research, health assessment, apa and apa and apa, some general education courses, and depending on the school you start doing clinical placements after year one. You'll typically go to placements in groups of 8 with a clinical instructor who teaches you how to be a nurse. You'll probably have a mental health placement, maternity, a medicine floor, surgery, and depending on where you do your consolidation (final placement) is hopefully up to you. I'm at Trent and we have a pretty good amount of choice for our consolidation.

I've been working as an rpn for four years exclusively in addictions and mental health so my experience is a bit different from a nurse who works Er or medicine. But as a new grad you might find a job on the floor you did your consolidation on if you're lucky or you could take months and months of applying to every job posting you see before getting a single interview.

The thing to remember is every four months you probably have a few hundred new grads in Toronto getting their nursing degrees and then looking for jobs. Toronto has lots of jobs but also lots of nurses looking for a job.

As for what being a nurse is like and depends on where you work. For me I work at camh and I self schedule, essentially what that means is I give availability and the ward clerk makes up a schedule and takes my preferences into account. So I work days and nights as I wish. Not everyone has this. If you're full time you're on a line so you don't get to pick when you work unless you swap shifts with another nurse.

My day at work begins at 730, but I usually get onto my unit at 710. I give meds to my patients, anywhere from 2 to 4 people, do a team meeting at 9am,do an admission and probably discharge a patient. This is all done by 11. At noon there's lunch meds, then an afternoon team meeting, at 3 there's usually more meds and then at 5 there's dinner meds. Usually at that point I make sure all of my charting is all caught up, I make sure any orders the doctor has put in has been seen by the pharmacists and any medications that are to be given at bedtime have arrived. At 730 I give report to the incoming nurse and go home.

Now of you're working in medicine your day is definitely busier and more unpredictable. On a medicine floor you'd come in and get report, do morning vitals and then meds, wash up your patients, do a team meeting by 11, more meds and lunch, probably change your patients briefs (diaper) as needed, and throughout this you're checking for new med orders or tests, do wound care, do admissions or discharges, field phone calls from family members, etc.

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73 Visitors; 3 Posts

Hey there! Thanks for such a thorough response, I really appreciate it.

The school program honestly sounds interesting, a good combination of academics and hands-on.

As for competition, I live in Northern Ontario but our schools churn out a lot of RNs so I imagine it's similar, just scaled down.

Oh CAMH! Nice! What is a line? And what is charting exactly? It sounds like there's a lot of it.

I've been watching Youtube videos about the experience of nurses and it does sound like it can be crazy busy, lots of multitasking, and like there can be a ton of paperwork (the charts you mentioned, I imagine).

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Fiona59 has 18 years experience.

17 Likes; 1 Follower; 52,317 Visitors; 8,242 Posts

A line is a job. A full time line is considered a 1.0FTE (and can be as rare as hen's teeth in some areas). Part time lines are shown as .5FTE (for half time hours). One shift is .1FTE.

If you are hired as a casual, you don't have a line and are not guaranteed a shift in any pay period. You also don't usually have benefits or pay into the pension.

Charting? It's paper work. Depending on the service you work on, it can be tick charting, long hand documentation, anything you record is considered charting.

The better questions you have to think about are shift work related. Straight day jobs in hospitals are few and far between and are usually obtained by skill, experience, and seniority. Or by the duty to accommodate. Hospital jobs are either day/evening or day/night. Vacation is granted by seniority and not by what you want. Statutory holdidays? You work.

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73 Visitors; 3 Posts

Hey there,

Is it common for RNs to be hired on a casual basis? Is it usually a long term arrangement? What kind of hours would one get working on a part-time basis?

I spoke to an RN who said she worked shifts--2 days followed by 2 nights--for 12 years before getting a steady day job in a hospital. I'm not overly concerned about shift work and even less so about holidays, but i AM concerned about being able to find a job, have a steady income, and obtain full time or almost full time employment in a reasonable time frame. Being forced to work on a casual basis indefinitely would not be acceptable...

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11 Likes; 1 Follower; 1,381 Visitors; 79 Posts

A lot of places will hire nurses as casuals because they don't have to pay benefits, sick days, vacation days. So yeah a lot of nurses start as casual nurses and as they gain seniority they can apply to a hospitals internal job postings and get part time or full time positions. Now this isn't the same for everyone, my first job out of nursing school was fulltime. Took me ten months of applying everywhere I could to get it but it does happen.

One thing to consider about being casual is the in lieu of benefits. I make $5 more an hour than other nurses I work with. And on a lot of units there are so many sick calls that a casual nurse can work almost full time hours. I know quite a few nurses who work part time at one place and casual at another.

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theRPN2b works as a RPN.

4,404 Visitors; 144 Posts

I am casual in Ontario but have been working full time hours since starting my nursing job over 2 years ago. With the "in liue pay" I make an extra $4+change an hour,so casual working full time hours will be making more money than full timers. But the catch is no guaranteed hours,no paid vacation/sick time/maternity leave and no benefits

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3 Likes; 4,180 Visitors; 259 Posts

I am casual in Ontario but have been working full time hours since starting my nursing job over 2 years ago. With the "in liue pay" I make an extra $4+change an hour,so casual working full time hours will be making more money than full timers. But the catch is no guaranteed hours,no paid vacation/sick time/maternity leave and no benefits

In BC, casual nurses (lpn and rn) can get pension and benefits (which you have to pay ). but I agree with getting good hours as a casual. People like making your own schedule as a casual. Many people work as casuals for years.

Edited by companisbiki

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theRPN2b works as a RPN.

4,404 Visitors; 144 Posts

In BC, casual nurses (lpn and rn) can get pension and benefits (which you have to pay ). but I agree with getting good hours as a casual. People like making your own schedule as a casual. Many people work as casuals for years.

Same here in Ontario, as a casual I've been paying into pension for some time

and you're right,casual is a good option to make your own schedule or only work shifts you prefer (I know people that stay casual in order to work only days/only night or no weekends/holidays

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11 Likes; 1 Follower; 1,381 Visitors; 79 Posts

Yep, at camh you get the option of taking 20% in lieu of benefits or taking 18% and paying that 2% into HOOPP.

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2 Likes; 4,711 Visitors; 409 Posts

If your willing to work in a remote area of Northern Ontario then you will have an easier time finding a job.

Yes that is the reality of shift work, there will always be more people who want to work days than nights.

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