Photo of overworked nurse in tears goes viral

A photo of a nurse working out of the Eastern Townships who posted a photo of herself in tears on Facebook has gone viral.

On Monday night, Émilie Ricard took to Facebook to take issue with health minister Gaétan Barrette's recent assertion that "the reform of the health care system has been a success."

"Here's the face of nursing care," Ricard began her piece. "Hey my little Doctor. I don't know where you got your information, but that's surely not the reality of nursing care."

She then went on to complain she was exhausted because of a lack of staff at the hospital where she works, suggesting, at one point, that she's often the only nurse caring for more than 70 patients at a time.

Managing all of those patients for a full shift, she says, leaves her "drained" and "exhausted" — in many cases, she says she deals with patients who are near death.

"I'm so stressed that I have back troubles, enough to keep me from sleeping. I don't want to go to work because I dread the workload that awaits me," she wrote. "I come home and I'm crying with fatigue."

Ricard also suggests she often wonders what she would have been able to do with her life had she not chosen a career in nursing, before turning her rant against Barrette.

"Hey, I don't want to see a family member in those conditions??!! It's disgusting. I'm broken by my chosen line of work. I'm ashamed of the lack of car I'm able to give. My health care system is sick and dying. I don't think I'm the only one who's being broken by the reality of nursing care...Workers are dropping like flies. The pain in both physical and mental."

"But hey...the reform is a success," she concludes, sarcastically.

Within less than 24 hours, the photo has been shared on Facebook nearly 40,000 times, and has been liked by 26,000 others.

Barrette responds

On Tuesday, health minister Gaétan Barrette responded to the post, suggesting it's up to hospitals to hire more nurses, but also suggests they've had trouble finding candidates.

One example he threw up was at Laval's Cité de la Santé hospital, where a job posting for 40 nursing positions drew only a handful of interested candidates.

"At the Cité de la Santé, the union rep said there were 40 jobs posted, but only eight takers," he said. "So at some point, tf no one takes the jobs, it's hard to do the job."

He says he would like to see more jobs being made available.

-CJAD 800's Matt Gilmour contributed to this report.