'It's frustrating, it's hurtful, it's disrespectful': Manitoba nurses rally to raise awareness about critical shortage
For nearly forty years, Kim Fraser worked as a paediatric nurse in Manitoba.
Fraser didn’t have immediate plans for retirement, until she hit a wall last November after working long hours and being denied personal protective equipment (PPE) while on shift.
"I was denied PPE on my point of care risk assessment and that was my final straw,” said Fraser, sitting on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature on Friday for a rally meant to raise awareness on the nursing staff shortage facing Manitoba.
“Had COVID not happened, I probably would still be working,” said Fraser, “But my life and my sanity and my self-preservation was worth it for me to retire.”
The rally was organized by the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU), with retired and active nurses brandishing a sign saying, “Without a nurse, a hospital bed is just a bed."
Organizers said the rally also functioned as a call to action for the province as nurses are stretched thin and some, like Fraser, are leaving the profession entirely.
“We are in a critical nursing shortage," said MNU President Darlene Jackson. "We can’t afford to lose another nurse in this system."
Nurses in Manitoba have been working without a contract for over five years, said Jackson, contributing to ongoing work-life imbalances that are affecting the recruitment and retention of nursing staff.
Jackson said recent efforts to improve staffing levels, specifically a $6 pay premium recently granted to ER nurses, haven’t improved the situation.
“Now we’re seeing nurses move from other areas of the system into ERs, which leaves gaping holes behind them,” said Jackson.
The MNU also sent letters to both candidates in the PC leadership race, Heather Stefanson and Shelly Glover, asking for their commitment in helping nurses if elected premier.
A spokesperson for Heather Stefanson’s leadership team said Stefanson would sign the document. CTV News did not hear back from Shelly Glover’s leadership team.
Christina Woodcock, a nurse currently working in Brandon, participated in Friday’s rally. She said normally there’s a one-to-one ratio for ICU nurse and patients, but that’s not the case right now.
“We’re now doubling patients up because resources are limited and patients are abundant,” said Woodcock.
“If the fourth wave is anything like what’s happening in our neighbouring provinces, I have great trepidation for what that is going to be like for nurses on the frontline,” said Woodcock
Marnie Houston, who needed to go to the Saint Boniface Hospital emergency room on Monday, said she experienced first-hand what current nurse staffing levels means for patients.
“Being as stressed as they are and being as few as they need to be right now, they can’t provide that level of service that we were used to seeing,” said Houston, who describes hearing intercom announcements asking nursing staff to pick up extra shifts.
“I didn’t get that support that I needed,” said Houston, “The nurses don’t have time – they really don’t. That’s the scary part because I know the nurses are there because they care.”
In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for Shared Health Manitoba said “system and clinical leaders have spent much of the summer preparing for the pandemic’s fourth wave” and “intensive bargaining negotiations (with the MNU) are continuing.”
“General wage increases,” the statement read, “along with further measures to support recruitment and retention and improved work/life balance, have been advanced and progress continues.”
Fraser, however, is still concerned for the safety of her former colleagues.
“I have so many friends that are in ICU, I have friends that have been redeployed from their jobs since November of last year with no end in sight,” said Fraser.
“It’s frustrating, it’s hurtful, it’s disrespectful.”
Winnipeg Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
More COVID-19 booster shots may be on the way -- but when it's your turn, you'll get an extra dose of the original vaccine, not one updated to better match the extra-contagious delta variant. And that has some experts wondering if the booster campaign is a bit of a missed opportunity to target delta and its likely descendants.
Tk'emlúps te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that his visit to the First Nation community Monday is 'bittersweet' following his notable absence from their ceremony to recognize the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
An Access to Information request by CTV News shows that when Canada learned that Canadian women and children were being held in a Kurdish-run detention camp in Syria, the response was hesitant and minimal—and it appears little has changed, writes London Bureau Chief Paul Workman in an exclusive piece for CTVNews.ca.
Alberta's two major cities were voting for new mayors during municipal elections Monday after being led by Naheed Nenshi in Calgary and Don Iveson in Edmonton for multiple terms.
As polls in the Alberta municipal elections are set to close, voters in the province have also been given the chance to voice their opinions on federal equalization payments.
Colin Powell's death from COVID-19 complications despite vaccination reminder immunocompromised at higher risk
The recent death of Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, due to COVID-19 complications is a small warning, experts say, reinforcing that those of advanced age or with health complications are still at a greater risk than other vaccinated populations.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday sought to block the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to a House committee investigating the attack, challenging President Joe Biden's initial decision to waive executive privilege.
The regulatory body for Ontario's medical profession has barred two outspoken doctors from issuing any medical exemptions related to COVID-19 vaccinations.
A Saskatchewan First Nation is pushing back against baseless claims involving the community.
Details about how the actions of a Kindersley woman led to her child's death emerged at a sentencing in Saskatoon on Monday.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will address the province’s ICU capacity Monday morning following a record-breaking weekend for COVID-19 patients in the ICU.
A Regina man is facing charges after allegedly threatening the lives of an elected official and an official with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.
The Regina Police Service has started an investigation after a man was found dead in the North Central neighbourhood Monday afternoon.
Jyoti Gondek has been declared as Calgary's next mayor.
Monday is more than a mayoral race. There are also 14 council seats up for grabs, including nine that will see new council members elected, (plus a new mayor). Here's a rundown on the results as they roll in:
George Chahal addressed the controversy surrounding an episode on federal election night, calling his decision to remove a piece of campaign literature promoting his opponent "a dumb mistake."
Amarjeet Sohi won a sizable victory in Edmonton's mayoral race, while incumbent city councillors had a mixed night.
Anirniq remained too close to call Monday night with two candidates in a tight battle to become councillor.
Even with 17 out of 20 polls reporting, Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi remained too close to call.
The Toronto rapper who was wanted for murder before he was arrested earlier this month in Los Angeles is a member of a criminal gang who organized a botched hit trying to target his brother's killer, according to documents unsealed in an American extradition hearing.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is being asked to apologize for 'divisive' comments made on Monday about immigrants coming to Ontario 'to collect the dole.'
Some 215,000 Ontarians successfully downloaded their COVID-19 vaccine certificate QR code Monday morning and they should consider themselves lucky.
Montreal police are looking for multiple suspects after a teenager was fatally stabbed near his school in Cote-des-Neiges Monday afternoon, staggering inside to seek help.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante and the Montreal Fire Department paid tribute to Pierre Lacroix on Monday after his body was retrieved from the St. Lawrence River, where he died performing a water rescue.
Quebec has released a new type of digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination, this one meant to be used for travel out of province in a 'pan-Canadian standard.' However, the federal government is working on something similar.
Ottawa's Confederation Line LRT will remain shut down for at least another two weeks, possibly more, according to a new memo from city staff.
The family of an Ottawa man who has been missing since Thursday is offering a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to him being found.
Greater Sudbury Police have charged a 32-year-old man with attempted murder following a series of violent events early Saturday morning.
The troupe behind Sudbury Burlesque say they're eager to hit the stage as they return this month for nine performances at the Coulson Nightclub. They're promising something for everyone but in a small, swankier atmosphere.
Noront Resources Ltd. announced Monday it has agreed to terms with Australia's Wyloo Metals to acquire up to 100 per cent Noront shares for C$0.70 in cash.
A seven-year-old child has died while out on a walk with his mother on a logging road in Nova Scotia's Cumberland County.
Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting one COVID-19 related death, along with 53 new and 138 recoveries on Monday, as the total number of active cases in the province drops to 849.
Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting 72 new cases of COVID-19 and 63 recoveries since Friday, as the number of active cases rises to 208.
Health officials in Waterloo Region reported 41 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend.
Police are continuing to search for a missing 11-year-old girl last seen in Perth County this weekend.
Waterloo regional police are investigating two reports of bomb threats emailed to businesses over the weekend.
The trip comes after the Prime Minister ignored a pair of invitations to join the community on Sept. 30, the country’s first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Experts say to understand what the numbers actually mean about your risk of a breakthrough case that lands you in hospital, you have to look at rates within the population, rather than the raw data.
Troubling allegations of lies and a cover-up are emerging in the electrocution of a B.C. woman and her two dogs six years ago.
There are currently 4,917 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including 521 active cases in the Island Health region, according to the B.C. ministry of health.
Early reports indicate that everyone has been accounted for after a floatplane capsized in Tofino, B.C. on Monday afternoon.
A legal battle is brewing between two of Canada's largest defence contractors over upgrades to a pair of New Zealand navy warships in British Columbia.