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I haven’t used the blog as a soapbox yet but I think today

I might climb up and have a rant. I ran out of energy two days ago when I had the idea but today it’s all the same professional issues and I have some left over “miffed” so I think perhaps I shall.

Do more faster with less resources. Oh and spend millions on a consultant to tell us how the automotive industry would do this. Yes and that’s why it’s so well suited to health care and saving peoples lives –NOT! The concept is good; removing excess from the system and streamlining processes but the reality is that they don’t listen to the front line workers who have experience. They (the lean process team) come in for their RPIW (Rapid process improvement week) in their colour co-ordinated shirts, timers and clip boards with their “metrix” set. They know what the problem is and they set out to solve it. REALLY? They didn’t ask any of us what the real problems are before they figured them out. Seems totally ass backwards that a random group of non medical people would know what the issue it. I spent 5 days doing an RPIW about the inefficiency of the trauma orthopaedic operating room — let’s start with a negative connotation and improve from there seemed to be the mind set. A year later there are no improvements in how long it takes a non emergency orthopaedic trauma case to get into the operating threatre because it wasn’t the nickel and dime minutes that is causing a back log. I could go on and on about that issue as that is where I spend my days and we work hard. Really hard trying to get in as many cases a day as is possible because there are always always patients waiting.

During one RPIW “they” found the missing stash of pillows and so it would all be solved. You have no idea how many times a day we have to go searching for pillows and blood pressure cuffs. Basic items. The hospital I work at is literally falling apart at the seams. The plumbing issues are atrocious. The number one way to reduce infections is by washing your hands with warm water and soap. In the operating room we have no warm water — only ICE COLD as there is some issue somewhere that the plumbers can’t fix or find. I’ll tell you if they spent as much on fixing the plumbing as they have on the campaign for the current influenza vaccination and subsequent masks for non compliant family and staff to wear it would all work. The electrical issues aren’t far behind and have shut down our operating rooms a couple of times as has ongoing floor issues. Literally the floors are decaying.

But let’s build a brand new children hospital right next door. I wonder how many people realize that there are more adult beds than paediatric beds in that building. There wasn’t room to put in an X-ray department so just transport those children back over for every MRI, CT and Xray that they need. That was such a political decision to build that building while the other hospital across the bridge sits under utilized.

I have spent 35 years as a registered nurse and I am proud of my profession. We all try to put our patients first. This week though I also did the housekeeping job regularly, portered patients, picked supplies for our cases all while educating a new staff member. I am quite entitled to feel as tired and drained as I do tonight. But I’m also cranky that we have to make do with less. No overtime for any positions and an amazing amount of sick time. I briefly thought about taking a mental health day today but I didn’t. I went to work and gave 110% because that is what I do. I didn’t write this post so that people would say “you’re such a good nurse” but rather because I wanted them to hear from me what it is like as a front line professional today in health care. We shouldn’t make do when we are talking about people’s lives.

I usually just hit post after spell checking and no one edits for me. I ran this post by my better half as he is more analytical and less emotionally involved. He felt it was ok to publish and even suggested a letter to the editor might be in order. I am going to ‘let go’of this now for the weekend and go enjoy my dessert club friends tonight and some family time Sunday.  The rant here has released my frustrations. Oh and image all this in the Rick Mercer style with the rotating camera angles while walking down a hospital hall way — or at least that’s how I played it out in my head.




I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

35 thoughts on “Rant!

  1. So many of the problems you highlighted are in every workplace. Managers and other higher-ups don’t listen to the people doing the work and instead focus on other solutions that look good to outsiders and supporters (e.g. the media and people who donate large sums and can get their names on buildings). You know, the “sexy” stuff. When I was in business school, I had to read a book called The Goal, by E. Goldratt…about his Theory of Constraints and process improvement. Excellent read, told in an easy to understand story-like format. My team and I implemented his ideas in the workplace and so many things improved, including staff satisfaction AND productivity. I recommend this book to anyone.



    1. I am extremely thankful that I have retired from the Health Authority. Working in a one room privately run operating room is so efficient and so conducive to good mental health! That and I am only working one or two days a week. I don’t miss the bull shit. I still recall when I wrote this how incredibly frustrated I was.
      “sexy” stuff in the health region was stuff that wasn’t the priority of the workers but it was all based on the lean process that worked in the auto industry in Japan. It didn’t work that well in health care!! The book sounds interesting but at this point I will pass! I will refer my husband to it though as it sounds like his field of interest and his work.
      Thanks for reading this old post and for the comment. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well said, Bernie. While i do believe looking at things with fresh eyes can be very helpful, there is no question that front line staff who live and breathe caring for people know the realities best and its foolish not to listen. Carefully and with rapt attention. You touch on a lot of things, but one is that there are rarely enough people to both do the skills and tasks of nursing, but also the art, to put the patient first with attention to their unique needs, as you said, because your are portering, chasing equipment or supplies or filling in some other gap. I am proud to have been a nurse for almost as long as you 🙂 and while Ive been away from the front line for a bit now, I talk to front line staff in lots of rural communities daily and your words ring true in across care sectors. Secondly, health care infrastructure is falling apart in many places, this is a common concern in lots of Alberta facilities where capital expenditures have been delayed to the point that things are unsafe, its way past fresh paint. in the tale of The Emperors New Clothes, those who saw reality were silent, and while the ending to that story only involve some embarrassment, the consequences of silence of for those working in health care have much more impact. Kudos to you for speaking up.!


  3. Well said. I think many people agree with you. It’s just so frustrating. It’s part of the reason I am taking a break from the hospital and practicing nursing in public health.
    I did have to giggle about the pillows.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great job! You speak for so many of us. Have been a nurse for 25 years and it almost drives you to the brink when you see such waste as this program.


    1. It turns out that there are a lot of people who feel this way but haven’t spoken out. I’m glad that I’m not alone in my feelings and I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment on the blog.


  5. Hit the nail on the head Bernie!!! I am not a nurse but work frequently in different areas of the hospital. I too have done “the rant” looking for wheelchairs. There are never ANY wheelchairs to transport patients from the ward to their test. The daily deals I make with floor nurses to borrow the ONE wheelchair they have/unit(60ish patients). Yes ONE wheelchair to be shared by 60 patients. If they have foot holders you’re lucky. Imagine an 80 yr old trying to hold up their feet getting pushed down the main mall for their tests. And don’t even get me started on beds with non working brakes or steering mechanism but can’t be taken out of commission because there are none to replace them with. How many wheelchairs and beds could be bought with the 30million used for LEAN?

    And don’t even get me started on elevators. How many days is acceptable for 2 main patient transport elevators to be down? Now your family members are transported through public mall areas because the patient transport elevators are down….again…….for more than 2 months…….again…….

    Why not ask front line workers what would make their jobs easier and the patient experience better?? A lot of times it’s one and the same. Better, safer equipment.

    I also would like to say be careful what you(the public) wish wait times may be decreasing but how??? There have been no increase in recovery beds-just push you out faster..there have been no increase in support staff either….anyone from xray, lab, surgery recovery RNs, housekeepers, or physiotherapists and follow up caregivers. All of these people are essential to the success of your surgery yet many in the chain are lacking……….truly- add a childrens hospital onto a broken, crumbling system….kudos Saskatchewan!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting to note that the old hospital versus children’s hospital is obvious to everyone around and not juat health care prodessionals. It’s so frustrating to work in a physical building that is falling apart. And sad to that the money is wasted elsewhere and not put into basic maintanence items.


  6. Thank you for ranting ! I don’t work in the hospital atmosphere thank God being a patient was bad enough ! It wasn’t the staff that made the stay bad it was the condition of the hospitals and the food and services !!!!! Our health care has deteriorated horribly and so have the hospitals !!! They can not maintain the three they what were they thinking building a children’s one ?????


  7. My son ended up in this hospital at the start of November and we were in peds for 4 days. .. the nurses did everything for us within their means but there is only so much that can be done.. the problem I found was the lack of staff (not just nurses) I was there 4 days and I actually drove 1 hour home to get a breast pump because the breastfeeding room was so filthy I thought I was in a milk factory. I have pictures, that I will gladly share,of the garbage overflowing with disposable breast pumps and garbage all over the floor. I mentioned it to the nurses but there wasn’t anything they could do; It is up to environmental services workers. Budgets get cut people cut corners. ..

    I work in a hospital in a small town and one of the budget cuts was water!!! Yes water!! Small towns are known for crappy water so most hospitals bring in Culligan water. The hospital decided tap water was good enough for everyone but they now bring in Dasani water for the patients. Even though the lean program assessor said this would save them money, I guarantee that they now spend triple what they originally did on Culligan. This lean program was the worst idea ever! That money could have been spent on proper staffing instead of handing it over to some idiots who think they know how to run Canadian health care! I have yet to find a single person who thought the lean program was a success!


    1. I’m glad that your son received decent care despite the physical surroundings. It is something that makes me cringe and don’t even start me on the Enviornmental Services aspect of the whole hospital (maybe even health district but as I said before I don’t get out often enough to make statements about other areas) as the standard is so low it’s barely a standard.
      Water — ah yeah let’s all drink substandard water that no one in town drinks at the hospital. Well that makes sense doesn’t it!? I am sure that the stories abound in each health district of the “money” saved by their ideas. There are some good ideas and things that work but unfortunately the number of those is too small for the 37 million and counting. The program will carry on despite letting Black go because all of our leaders have “drank the lemonade” and believe in it fully. They’ve all had their week of training and so can go forth and correct all the deficiencies. Like perhaps too much middle management and not enough front line worker. But hey I’m jaded and it’s my blog so I guess I can put my opinion in a reply as well.
      Take care and I hope your son is doing well.


  8. This nails it. Dozens of colour coordinated staff removed from the front line and help save nickels and dimes and seconds and minutes. Then they all go home and pat themselves on the back as if they’ve somehow made some kind of profound contribution. Meanwhile ignoring the true concerns of frontline staff. I want to go on a rant listing the numerous issues I would like to raise but… I just don’t have it in me. I’m tired. Already.

    The idea is great but the implementation is atrocious. Worse still perhaps is that the infrastructure is one of the biggest detriments and no one is willing or ready to accept that there is no quick or cheap fixes for that. How many times I have asked myself “when did a crisis stop being a crisis? Because every month I am expected to cope with crisis level overcrowding as if it is a normal part of the workplace. Worse still though we’re indoctrinating all of the new staff to believe exactly that….

    3 years in and I’m being burnt right out.


    1. Guess you have been where i am. I refuse to give up on quality patient care but its hard. It’s tiring and it’s frustrating. But we have to keep going because it is not about nickels and dimes. Or their stupid stop watches!


    1. I have actually walked down the hall way looking for pillows ranting just like Rick Mercer would. Looking for pillows occupies too much of my time but I need them to position patients safely for their operation.


      1. Ahh, the pillows.
        Bernie, this was a great rant.
        So many agree with you, it’s frustrating beyond belief. It’s part of the reason I am taking a break from the hospital setting And practicing nursing in public health.


  9. It is weird; I work in a cellular phone store in Saskatoon, but somehow have had the opportunity to talk about the current lean program and the boneheaded children’s hospital decision with more than a few medical professionals. None of them agreed with these current policies, and don’t know anyone who does. Yet somehow, this stuff gets pushed through. Thanks for giving your perspective.


    1. Deb. It’s good to know that, despite our isolation in the OR, that I do speak for many. So many millions spent on Leaning and yet we can’t have decent staffing on units. We don’t have enough beds to handle inpatients and the Recovery Room and Emergency act as units but those are not the right spots for long term care of patients. It doesn’t seem to end does it? We are always at capacity and sometimes it seems like the front line worker can’t handle more capacity.


      1. So great to read your “rant” and followers! This was emailed by a friend from Nursing School. Both of us RN’s for over 40+ Years. Both work in different cities, hospitals and areas of practice but a year ago for her and 2 years ago for me, both of us became “burnt out”. Neither of us saw it coming just worked for years with struggles you share and the politics finally hit you like a brick wall!!! one day and you realize I cannot do this anymore! We both took stress leaves and for me I tried many different times to go back mentally but just could not do it! Intimidated by Managers, fellow RN’s, who said after 40+ years working I didn’t manage time well, didn’t know how to prioritize etc. reasons I always was leaving late and felt overwhelmed, missed breaks etc. but in reality it was many of the reasons you stated. Now both Retired and Happy to be! The Nursing was a passion and the part I miss but Politics get in the way and ruin it for Caring RN’s! Good luck with future! I too proud to say I was a RN & knew I made a difference to many! Government and Corporations of which Hospitals are DO NOT VALUE RN”S


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