A new national survey of Canada’s nurses shows that the majority believe patient safety is declining, or not improving, and workplace violence in health care is a serious and growing problem. Many of those surveyed have considered a job or career change, according to survey results.

The survey results from the Canadian Federation of Nurses revealed that during the past 12 months:

  • One third of nurses (34%) say that patient safety has declined where they work, 46% say it has stayed the same; just 20% say it has improved. Nurses in Ontario and Saskatchewan were more likely than those in other provinces to say their patients are not safe.
  • The majority of nurses responding (61%) say they have experienced serious problems in the workplace, related to violence, including physical assault, bullying, verbal abuse and racial/sexual harassment. By contrast, a January 2016 national poll conducted by Vector Poll found that just 15% of employees in other sectors experienced serious problems with physical assaults, verbal threats, bullying or other kinds of abuse over a two-year period.
  • A full two thirds of nurses (66%) pondered leaving their job to work for a different employer or in a different occupation. Ontario nurses are the most likely to have considered a career or job change (70%). Nurses aged 25 to 34 years are the most likely to have contemplated a job change.