Nurses in British Columbia are among the least likely in Canada to recommend the hospitals where they work, according to a CBC News survey.
Twenty-seven per cent of B.C. registered nurses said they definitely or probably would not recommend their hospital to loved ones, higher than the Canadian average of 24 per cent.
Overall, B.C. hospitals rate lower than the national average in several crucial areas, the survey of more than 4,500 RNs from more than 250 hospitals across the country shows.
The figures come from an online survey that CBC's flagship investigative show, the fifth estate, distributed to registered nurses through nursing associations and unions, as part of Rate My Hospital, a sweeping series about health care.
About 60 per cent of nurses responding to the CBC survey said there was not enough staff for them to properly do their jobs, rising to 62.4 per cent in B.C.
"There is clear, clear evidence that short staffing has negative impact on patient outcomes, as well as nurses' health," said Judith Ritchie, associate director for nursing research at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal.
Ritchie said constant short-staffing can lead nurses to burn out — a state that 40 per cent of B.C. respondents said they suffered from to a high degree, one per cent higher than the overall average.
About 44 per cent said they didn't feel as if they could do their job to a quality standard that they were pleased with, again higher than the Canadian average of 40 per cent.
And 13.4 per cent of B.C. nurses gave their facility a poor or failing grade, slightly higher than the national average of 11.5 per cent.
However, the majority of respondents — 87 per cent — said patient safety in their unit or work area of the hospital is acceptable or better.
"The safety and quality of care on my unit remains high only at the expense of the nurses," said one surgical nurse in B.C. who asked not to be identified.
"Increased workload demands are only met by the nurses working harder and faster. We are physically and mentally burning out trying to provide the care at a level acceptable to ourselves and that our patients deserve."
Health minister Margaret MacDiarmid says health ministries across Canada have been increasing their spending every year, and the B.C. government has tried to address staffing issues in their latest contract with the nurses’ union.
"Over 2,000 new nurses will be hired in B.C. over the next four years to address some of the issues that have been brought forward," she said.
More than 360,000 regulated nurses work in Canada, making them one-third of the national health-care workforce.