New national healthcare industry research commissioned by Employer Brand Consultancy Blu Ivy Group (and conducted among Canadian healthcare professionals who are members of the Angus Reid Forum) has revealed many concerning cracks in Canada’s healthcare system, including patient safety danger due to medical practitioner shortages.
The survey reveals that in Ontario:
25% of ON healthcare workers plan to leave in less than one year, 22% plan to leave in a year and 28% in two years.
44% of ON healthcare workers agree that their workplace feels ‘highly toxic.’
92% of ON Healthcare workers call the nurse shortage the ‘most dangerous to patients.’ This was followed by shortages of physicians (61%) and surgeons (21%)
How to quell quitting:
74% of ON healthcare workers say they would stay in their current positions if they had ‘higher wages.’ 57% would stay for ‘retention bonuses’ and 40% would stay if they had better admin support.
41% of ON healthcare workers say the ‘have no confidence any current party is equipped to address the healthcare situation in Canada.’
Few ON healthcare workers believe in a two-tier system
Asked their prediction for the future of healthcare in Canada only 7% said ‘we will need to implement a two-tier system to survive.’
CANADA-WIDE, HERE ARE THE KEY FINDINGS OF THE SURVEY
1) A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER … nursing staff shortages:
Asked which, if any, professional medical practitioner shortages present the most danger to patients, most Canadian healthcare workers surveyed (89%) said nurses.
- 65% said, physicians
- 28% said, surgeons
- 16% said, radiologists
- 21% said, internal medicine practitioners
2) Nearly 75% of healthcare workers are considering a walk
73% of Canadian healthcare workers said they are considering leaving within the next 12 months. 69% of doctors and 75% of nurses.
Some without a plan …
16% of doctors (vs. 9% of nurses) would walk away with ‘no plan.’19% of nurses would go to ‘a different sector entirely’ (vs. 7% of doctors).
Some of the top stated reasons that they would leave their current positions are: stress levels (54%), impact on health and wellbeing (49%), work-life balance (45%), workload (44%), compensation (42%), and lack of management support (35%.)
23% of Canadian healthcare workers said their income has decreased a great deal or decreased in the past year. 41% of doctors and 21% of nurses.
3) Nurses may be negotiating through more negativity than doctors in the workplace:
- 50% of nurses rated their financial compensation very/poor vs. only 26% of doctors.
- 72% of nurses disagree that their ‘pay is commensurate with the importance of their role to society’ vs. 48% of doctors.
- 52% of nurses rate the ‘recognition for the work they do’ as very poor or poor vs. 44% of doctors.
- 66% of nurses say ‘they are constantly stressed about the state of healthcare and its impact on them, vs. 59% of doctors.
- 47% of nurses say their access to mentors is very poor/poor, vs. 31% of doctors.
Asked to rate their career path/trajectory, 26% of nurses rated it ‘very poor or poor,’ vs. 13% of doctors.
4) What’s the fix?
Asked the top three things ‘they would do to fix Canada’s healthcare system,’ Canadian healthcare workers said: Pay higher wages to keep pace with inflation (78%), allow flexible hours and better work/life balance to avoid burnout (64%), incentivized recruitment of healthcare professionals (36%) and better benefits (32%).
Solutions that health workers ‘say’ would make health workers ‘stay’
- 72% – higher wages
- 61% – retention bonus
- 41% – greater admin support
- 27% – more graduates and interns
“It’s important to note the solutions identified by respondents are ‘hygienic stop gaps’ that will address some of the most critical fractures in the system. It is strikingly clear however that work is not working in its present form for healthcare workers. In order to attract and retain the talent needed to address this crisis, hospitals and healthcare services will need to prioritize listening, learning, and developing people-first growth.” said Stacy Parker, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Blu Ivy Group. “Given these alarming turnover indicators, recruitment campaigns alone will clearly NOT fix the Canadian healthcare crisis. An effective employer brand strategy addressing healthcare worker attraction, experience and industry reputation gaps is vital in the year (and years) ahead or a further collapse in healthcare resources is inevitable.”
5) Who can fix it? (Hint, not the government)
Asked which political party they thought is best equipped to address the Canadian healthcare crisis, 38% of healthcare workers said, ‘they have no confidence in any of the current parties.’ 28% said the NDP. 15% said the Conservative Party, 14% said the Liberal party and 2% said the Green party. Only 1% said The Bloc Quebecois and 1% also said The People’s Party of Canada.
“It’s obvious from talking to healthcare workers that this crisis is not about extra beds, or facilities,” added Parker. “The healthcare industry can keep vitally needed workers from quitting with an emotionally compelling strategy that attracts, engages and builds pride with employees and job seekers alike. A record number of newly registered nurses are starting their careers in workplaces described by tenured colleagues as ‘highly toxic.’ Imagine the impact that has on their passion for the field, their own wellbeing and potential turnover. This national crisis simply will NOT be resolved until our healthcare sector shifts its thinking to focus on building people-first workplace cultures and thinking of healthcare facilities as employer brands.”
6) Patients are getting impatient:
96% of healthcare workers cite high/moderate frustration for patients with healthcare providers. Nurses and doctors equally cite ‘high frustration’ at 59%.
47% of nurses reported a very poor/poor amount of time that they can spend with each patient vs. only 26% of doctors. In total, 36% of healthcare workers reported poor/very poor patient time.
39% of Canadian health workers said they spend 26% to 50% of their time on administrative functions as opposed to medical. 41% of Doctors and 43% of nurses.
7) Healthcare professionals find the future ‘bleak’
- 26% say things will turn around
- 2% say this is a blip
- 24% say it will take years
68% are much more pessimistic
- 16% say it will take decades
- 44% we need to dramatically change how healthcare is delivered
- 8% say it’s unfixable
- 5% say we need a 2-tier system
7) Many healthcare workers are toughing it out in ‘toxic’ workplaces
44% of Canadian healthcare workers agreed that their workplace ‘feels highly toxic.’ 48% of nurses vs. 31% of doctors.
8) Things are (generally) worse for healthcare workers post-pandemic
Asked what is ‘worse now’ compared to ‘before the pandemic,’ healthcare workers are significantly negative across the board:
Worse since the pandemic:
- Morale – 74%
- stress levels –70%
- workload – 69%
- work-life balance – 54%
- recognition – 46%
These issues have spilled into the quality of their personal lives
Rated “poor” or “very poor”:
- personal health – 33%
- relationship with friends – 19%
- relationship with a partner –10%
- relationship with kids – 4%
Only 19% of healthcare workers agree they would feel comfortable ‘expressing the concerns they have about the state of healthcare to management.’ 24% of doctors vs. 16% of nurses.
- 77% disagree that they ‘know exactly who they can talk to about concerns about the Canadian healthcare system.’
- 72% disagree that management would ‘take their concerns seriously.
- 30% of healthcare workers describe how direct leaders engage with and treat them as poor/very poor. 31% of nurses cite very poor/poor vs. 24% of doctors.
47% of doctors and 31% of nurses cite very poor/poor access to mentors in the workplace. 43% of healthcare workers cite very poor/poor access overall.
“The good news here is that an employer brand strategy provides a real and workable solution,” added Parker. “Workplace cultures have transformed since 2020. The pandemic has shifted employee values and perceptions. Employers globally are drafting employee promise contracts. The most successful workplaces are transforming their cultures to be employee value proposition-focused. This shift – to what is in it for employees – has been dramatic and accelerated impacts on engagement, retention, pride and talent attraction.” The Canadian Healthcare industry must engage in employer brand strategy if it is to reclaim the hearts and minds of the nurses, doctors, radiologists and technicians needed to keep our system alive.
10) Additional workplace woes:
- 90% of healthcare workers categorize the ‘healthcare system in Canada right now/ as worse/not good. 94% of doctors and 93% of nurses.
- 49% or nurses and 44% of Doctors describe the morale at their workplace as very poor/poor. Fully 48% of healthcare workers report ‘low morale’ in the workplace.
- 56% of nurses described their workload as very poor/poor vs. 46% of doctors. Fully, 49% of healthcare professionals described their workload as very poor/poor.
- 40% of healthcare workers describe their work/life balance as very poor/poor. 43% of male workers described it as very poor/poor vs. 39% of female workers.
- Fully, 38% of healthcare workers rated the level of investment/support in their hospital clinic as very poor/poor.
What do you think about these findings?