Crisis in the emergency room: is there a shortage of nurses everywhere in the world?

Spread the love

Crisis in the emergency room: is there a shortage of nurses everywhere in the world?

To overcome the lack of staff, hospital managers regularly use the compulsory overtime, imposing sometimes very long shifts on employees.

“There is a shortage of nurses everywhere in the world,” said Quebec Premier François Legault last Wednesday, as his government was once again asked to answer the question of the shortage of staff in hospitals in the province. But is this really the case? And if so, are there solutions to this shortage?

There is indeed a shortage of nurses in the other provinces and territories of Canada, and in several European countries which, unlike certain systems such as the exclusively private one in the United States, can be comparable to Quebec in the sense that they also manage public health networks.

According to Pascal Garel, of the European Hospital Federation, which represents the networks of some thirty countries, this is a problem everywhere, whether in Greece, where there is one nurse for every doctor, or in Ireland, where there are five nurses for one doctor.

The situation is quite close with you and with us, in Europe. We have an aging population [and] we received the triple whammy this winter – the pandemic, the flu and bronchiolitis – which affected our children. It blew up the situation in some countries.

And there too, in addition to the increase in the clientele, the working conditions linked to the overload are pushing many nurses to leave the health network and change careers. There is an unbearable pressure and even more when we lived the COVID. We have given a lot and we have the feeling of not seeing anything coming in terms of salary and working conditions, explains Pascal Garel, in an interview on the show The facts first, on the airwaves of ICI Première.

But then, when François Legault says that we are going to try with immigration and requalification, is this a realistic solution to replenish the ranks of nurses in the Quebec?

No, because everyone plays the same thing, says Sylvain Brousseau, president of the Canadian Nurses Association, without hesitation.

“All Canadian provinces are trying to get nurses from their neighbors and, internationally, all rich countries are trying to draw nurses from countries where conditions are less good. »

— Sylvain Brousseau, President of the Canadian Nurses Association

We tried [in Europe] and it didn't work, adds Pascal Garel, who emphasizes other than the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends ethical practices in international recruitment to avoid plundering professionals in poor countries, who already need these medical personnel.

Sylvain Brousseau compares the problem to a leaky bathtub: you have to stop trying to put water back in it, but rather tackle why it's leaking.

Besides , how is it that we are talking about a shortage of nurses in Quebec, when 80,000 members are registered with the Ordre desnipes et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ), a number about 10% higher than in the recent years?

When we talk about the shortage of nurses, we are talking about a shortage in a particular sector, answers Damien Contandriopoulos, professor of nursing at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia. It's not that nurses have disappeared, it's that nurses, as fairly qualified professionals, are able to choose the workplaces that are the least worst.

“And right now, the environment that is the worst is the hospital environment. […] It is a concentrated shortage. It's not that nurses aren't there, it's that nurses have the opportunity to go and work in environments that don't make them mad or sick.

— Damien Contandriopoulos, professor of nursing at the University of Victoria, British Columbia

So these nurses go to private agencies or all kinds of sectors in health or parahealth with better working conditions.

And that, according to the three speakers, is the sinews of war: working conditions, including compulsory overtime (TSO).

When you work in an environment where you constantly perceive toxicity, violence, racism, it is not tenable, launches Sylvain Brousseau. When a nurse is constantly asked to stay 22, 23, 24 hours, it is not tenable. And so is the quality of care: when they finish their shift, they question themselves because they are under constant pressure. It is not tenable.

It is a catastrophic, generalized and self-reinforcing management problem, specifies Damien Contandriopoulos. When you're a hospital with rotten working conditions, it's a small environment, everyone knows that. So the nurses don't want to go and the problem just gets stronger.

“Employers in hospitals need to become employers of choice. It means competitive wages, decent working conditions and people being able to fully exercise their skills. Which is not the case now. »

— Sylvain Brousseau, President of the Canadian Nurses Association

The most disheartening according to Damien Contandriopoulos? I've been commenting on this topic for 15 years now and nothing has changed. […] The courses of action that are put forward by the government are generally one-way – it's just money – and too timid.

There is a panoply of solutions that have existed for a very long time, they have been mentioned for about fifteen years, adds Sylvain Brousseau, who suggests that the Canadian provinces consult the document prepared by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions in 2022, Supporting Nursing in Canada.

Previous Article
Next Article