Hundreds of B.C. nurses expected to rally at legislature due to working conditions

As the province battles two public health emergencies, B.C. nurses are demanding a better response from the government — and they plan to take their message to the legislature on Tuesday afternoon.

The British Columbia Nurses’ Union says the health-care system is buckling under pressure amid the opioid crisis and COVID-19 pandemic.

The union expects hundreds will join the rally in Victoria — aimed at highlighting long-standing problems affecting workers' mental health and patient care.

"The act of holding a dying patient's hand while they lay intubate and alone or balancing an iPad so family members can say their final goodbyes is something that stays with you," said BCNU president Aman Grewal.

"It’s had a profound impact on our members, and they are not allowed to share this reality openly," she said.

Grewal says the union surveyed its members last year and found 82 per cent reported their mental health had worsened over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rally also plans to bring attention to staffing concerns, working conditions and patient care.