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Graphing OT Overload Keeping Many Nurses Out of Work

Linda Boutilier, an emergency room nurse in Dartmouth, New South Wales, was coveted earlier this summer after months without rest. I took a vacation. 

However, she received calls almost daily and returned to her aid. Soon after her return, she worked her 19-hour shift.

Boutillier went on schedule for 13 hours, but due to a shortage of staff, she waited another 6 hours.

"I feel guilty when I can't because I know my team and I know the burden my patients are suffering," she said.

"I love my colleagues and I care about my community, so when I can't be here, I feel like I'm letting the system down and letting my colleagues down."

Nova Scotia, in particular, saw the largest increase in the percentage of nurses working overtime during the pandemic, according to Statistics Canada data compiled by CBC News .

In some parts of Canada,emergency rooms  are experiencing reduced work hours due to staffing shortages, with analysts Amid tensions warning the system is collapsing, nurses' representatives say signs of trouble were evident before the pandemic.

Canadian Nurses Federation (CFN) President Linda Cyrus said reliance on overtime to make up for labor shortages is hurting the profession. 

She said many were forced out of full-time jobs because of her lack of work-life balance.

"This is a vicious circle, but it must be stopped," she said. "We've been talking about working conditions, poor working conditions for nurses for 10, 15 years."

In addition to Nova Scotia, the data show that when compared to the national average, The amount of overtime required is particularly high in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

September 2021 appeared to be a particularly difficult month for Nova Scotia's health system, with 47% of her nurses working overtime during the month and OT of any state. entire pandemic.

Further data show that nurses working overtime log more hours. In July, an average of nurses working overtime worked 9 hours more than her. This is the highest number since the first months of the pandemic.

Emergency rooms have closed in parts of the country, including Ontario and Quebec, due to staff shortages.

The shortage of nurses was evident even before the pandemic, but now the need is even more acute, said Cyrus. 

According to CFN, in 2019, one-third of registered nurses, who make up the bulk of the nursing workforce, were already over the age of 50, and that Many are nearing retirement age.

A recent survey of members of the ``Fix Your Workplace''

Coalition found that 94% of respondents experienced burnout. Young nurses say they are more likely to quit their jobs.

According to Cyrus, many people want to leave full-time posts and work for agencies that offer better schedules and salaries.

"What we have to do is improve the workplace," she said. “We need to make sure there is a flexible and safe nurse-to-patient ratio where they can take time off.”

Since March 2020, all healthcare workers of OT work increased sharply, while the proportion of non-nursing health workers has plateaued since then. However, the proportion of nurses working overtime continues to rise.

"It's important to recognize that we have a problem and it needs to be resolved quickly," said Sylvain Brousseau, president of the Canadian Nurses Association.

Brousseau is also a professor at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, studying the working conditions of nurses.

He said the increase in overtime was a sign of systemic problems. — OT is now part of many hospitals' administrative structures. 53}

"If we don't fix the problem, people will leave the health system," he said.

Ms. Boutillier hopes that the nurses still on duty will be rewarded, with better wages and time off upon request.

"What we don't have is work-life balance. It's not respected," she said. "These days we fill up a system of waterlogging and feel like we are just cogs in a wheel."