I have been a retired nurse from the health network since June 2019, and I worked there for 38 years. I have witnessed its transformation both in terms of the experience of field workers and in terms of management, since I have held both positions.
I decided to retire because it had become difficult for me to apply instructions from senior management, because they no longer matched my values. The working conditions that I had to impose on my staff, I would have refused as an employee.
For years, the emphasis has been on the shortage of nurses and the inability of the system to meet the needs of the population. However, are we asking the right question or are we afraid to find the real answer?
Where are the nurses?
According to the report Statistical report on the nursing workforce 2018 2019, published by the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec in 2019, the nursing workforce has been growing steadily since the early 2000s. So, when people try to make us believe that there are fewer nurses now and that we are in shortage; it’s wrong. We went from 69,242 nurses in 2014-2015 to 71,487 nurses in 2018-2019, according to the report.
My understanding of the situation is this: the shortage is caused by two processes, namely the extreme mismanagement of absences, salary insurance and the CNESST, and the emergence of nursing placement agencies.
A large number of nurses on sick leave are absent for reasons of professional exhaustion in connection with the lamentable working conditions imposed on them by the senior management of the CISSS and CIUSSS.
This “power trip” on the part of managers has been drastically accentuated with the pandemic, where, under the influence of a ministerial decree, managers find themselves with the full power to do whatever they want to the detriment of agreements. collective, but above all to the detriment of workers who have been dropping like flies since March 2019.
Abolish nursing placement agencies
In the background, the nursing placement agencies. One government after another is forcing institutions to reduce “MOI”, or independent labor, but without ever intervening directly at the heart of the problem.
Placement agencies are an administrative trick that allows health care workers to resign from their position on Friday and often return to work in the same position the following Monday, but this time on their own terms. They work the days they want, take their vacation when they want, are not subject to compulsory overtime and they earn better wages than their colleagues in the network.
If the government agreed to act as a responsible and accountable government for the situation it has created for decades, it could be contained quickly. In my opinion, the proactive and efficient management of sickness absence of all kinds as well as the abolition of nursing placement agencies are part of the solutions to the cancer that is plaguing the health system in Quebec.
The spotlight is constantly in the direction of nursing staff and unions. Now is the time to put the spotlight on the shameful ineffectiveness of managers in doing their jobs and on the government’s lack of courage.
We refuse his candidacy
I myself have been confronted with poor workforce management. On September 25, I applied on the “I contribute” site, in order to lend a hand to carry out surveys for Public Health, so that the health system can recover nurses and return them to patient care.
I was willing to work 5 days a week, 2 different shifts, but I was turned down because I was forced to work every other weekend.
I do not believe that we can, under the circumstances, afford to refuse a candidate who can come and lend a hand to the health network. This clearly illustrates the disconnection from reality on the part of managers and their need for an insatiable “power trip” which greatly exceeds the needs of the population.
Steeve Bonenfant, retired nurse