‘It’s going to bankrupt health care’: Spending on temp agency nurses up more than 550% since pre-pandemic at one Toronto hospital network.
We’ve seen other stories involving temp agency nurses, including one in which a temp agency nurse became the first person in Canada to be charged with criminal neglect after being alleged to have been ‘negligent and careless’ in her work with a patient. These stories can be very concerning and very scary for all stakeholders, but they also serve as a cautionary tale to all.
And this story is yet another reminder that health care workers (HCSW) are vital to health care delivery and a vital part of our system of care.
And, as our friends in the US, the UK, and other developed countries have learned the hard way, there are risks and there are challenges to the health care system. We have seen it happen before.
And, just like the temp agency nurses in Canada, temporary staff (and we’re very grateful for them) are vulnerable to losing their jobs and their life savings if they do something really wrong – which they will – on the job, while under the care and caretakership of the hospital system.
And we’ve also seen that temp agency staff have a lot of training and a lot of experience that other HCSW don’t have. So, no matter which way they come, they have some training that HCSW don’t. And they are also not as expensive to hire as HCSW or their peers in other hospital systems.
I was very fortunate to be on the floor when my HCSW worked with my patient at that Toronto hospital. The temp agency nurse was at least four years out of a master’s program and had been working temp jobs with the hospital for more than a year.
Not only were we a small hospital, but I also was a private practice doctor with an excellent team of caregivers and I also had a very well stocked supply