POP BC Briefing #4- Stories from BC’s Hospital Front Lines – The Missing Voices

Want to keep track of our work? Sign up for PoP BC updates, actions, public health information, and announcements.

POP BC Briefing #4: Stories from BC’s Hospital Front Lines – the Missing Voices

How are BC’s hospital workers coping after 20 months of this pandemic? Protect our Province BC decided to find out by asking them directly.

We asked healthcare workers these questions: How has COVID impacted you? How has it changed you? What do you want the public to know? What changes would you like to see in BC’s pandemic response?  

Watch and listen to interviews with health care workers who have been on the front line for the entire pandemic, and hear heart-breaking stories from some of the two hundred hospital workers who responded to our anonymous survey.

Content warning: Please be aware that some of the content we will share is distressing to hear. The stories from BC’s hospital workers can be upsetting but we believe it is important for the public to know what BC’s frontline workers are experiencing during the pandemic. We will not be showing any graphic images or video content. We hope that, as a viewer, you will give yourself the space and time that you need to process.

Facilitator: Dr. Brenda Hardie, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC


  • Dr. Jeffrey Eppler, Emergency Physician
  • Sarah (last name withheld by request), Registered Nurse, BScN
  • Dr. Karina Zeidler, Cofounder of POP BC
Get the slide deck

Summary of Key Points

  • BC’s weak pandemic response has hurt hospitals and acute care in the province.
  • Healthcare workers are suffering.
  • There are actions you can take to help

Nursing and healthcare workers in BC are in crisis.

A majority of survey respondents are thinking of leaving healthcare

Health care workers have continued to provide care for patients despite exhaustion, personal risk of infection, fear of transmission to vulnerable patients and family members, and the loss of patients and colleagues. COVID has made the pre-existing problems in BC healthcare much more obvious, and worsened many of them.

There is a crisis in nursing and healthcare workers in BC, Canada and around the world. An estimated 13 million nurses will be needed globally to fill the gap. 

In BC, four out of ten nurses say they are experiencing severe depression, and six out of ten report mental exhaustion. Of the 50,000 healthcare workers in BC, 12,500 say they are thinking of quitting, and 60% have more burnout and anxiety now as a result of COVID. 

The situation is critical.

Moral injury happens in response to a betrayal of what’s right.

Their job is caring, and it takes a toll when you can’t do the caring you signed up to do.  

Moral injury happens in response to a betrayal of what is right. It is driving many heathcare workers to quit. They aren’t quitting because they can’t handle their jobs. They are quitting because they can’t handle being unable to do their jobs.  

Hospitals were already crowded before Covid and now even more so. People are in hospital for weeks or months with COVID, creating a backlog, and lack of access to hospital beds.

If you have more people coming in than going out of your ICU, hospitals are easily overwhelmed, even if the numbers aren’t high.  Nursing workloads are not safe, sometimes quadruple what is recommended.  It’s overwhelming and exhausting trying to provide care. 

There are things you can do to make a difference.

Protect yourself to support BC hospital workers

Take care of your own health to prevent the delayed effects of untreated health issues.

Avoid taking risks that could compromise your health. 

Reach out to those who are reluctant to get vaccinated in a respectful and effective way. 

Recognize that COVID is spread in the air.  Wear the best mask you can and avoid crowded spaces. 

Contact your MLA or Health Authority to press for healthcare improvements.

Pressure your government to do these things:

  • Provide the best protective equipment and well ventilated and filtered air in healthcare, schools and workplaces.  
  • Urgently recruit, train and retain healthcare workers. 
  • Avoid lockdowns by improving our public health strategies.
  • Improve testing and reporting.
  • Educate the public about the airborne nature of COVID
  • Regulate well filtered air and proper ventilation in public buildings. 
  • Improve access to primary healthcare in BC

Share this:

Archived Briefings from Protect Our Province BC

Title image for briefing April 20 - COVID in the House: Protect Your Loved Ones
Wednesday, April 27th from 12:00-1:00 PDT What should you do if someone in your house tests positive for COVID-19? How do we prevent it from passing to loved ones in the household? Why should we care? Data is emerging that, due to variant mutations, COVID-19 reinfections are happening, even in highly-vaccinated countries. For that reason,… Continue reading COVID-19 in the House: How to Protect Your Loved Ones
Title image for Briefing 14 April 7, 2022 - COVID Doesn't Take Breaks, Neither Can We
Thursday, April 7 at 12:00 noon PDT Ignoring the 6th wave won’t stop it. What does the evidence say? Join Dr. Lyne Filiatrault, Dr. Brenda Hardie, and Gosia Gasperowicz, PhD, as they discuss what BC needs to do to lower community transmission as the most infectious strain of COVID ever becomes dominant across the globe.… Continue reading COVID-19 Doesn’t Take Breaks. Neither Can We.
Title image for Briefing 13: Ethics in Canada, March 23, 2022
Wednesday, March 23rd, 12:30-1:30 pm PT Join Canadian researcher and author Jon Parsons in a discussion with Protect our Province BC member Dr. Amy Tan about how Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic amounts to a failure of ethical action.  The pandemic has brought issues with Canada’s governing systems and cultural identity into full view:… Continue reading Lack of Ethics: How Canada is Failing with COVID-19

More News from Protect Our Province BC

Post title - reinstate masks in public spaces
Protect Our Province BC, Safe Schools Coalition BC and BC School COVID Tracker are coming together to ask for mask protection in indoor public spaces, businesses, schools and on public transit in BC. The removal of BC’s mandated health protections has us concerned for the health and well-being of all British Columbians. “Now that masking… Continue reading Protect Our Province BC, Safe Schools Coalition BC and BC School COVID Tracker Issue Joint Press Release
translink masking open meeting title image
On March 11th, the British Columbia Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry lifted the indoor mask mandate for most public places, with the main exception being healthcare settings.  TransLink immediately followed suit and lifted its own mask requirement, leaving commuters on  buses and trains with very few COVID-19 precautions. Unlike BC, Ontario and Quebec have… Continue reading Transit Users Ask Translink to Keep Mask Protections in Place.
Title image for blog April 2 - N95 masks and transmission
Share this: April 2, 2022  A Guest Post by Tim Henthorne, B.A.Sc., P. Eng Over the past two years, we have been flooded with opinions regarding the wearing of masks, all while trying to learn how to deal with the existential threat of COVID-19. Unfortunately, much confusion has come from Public Health itself with its… Continue reading N95 Masks & the Transmission of COVID-19