10/13/2014 04:11 EDT | Updated 12/13/2014 05:59 EST

Nurses protest 114 job cuts at CSSS Laval

Nurses and other health care workers gathered outside Cité de la Santé Hospital in Laval on Monday to protest against job cuts.

The CSSS Laval was asked by the province to cut $9.7 million from its budget. As a consequence, part of the regional health agency's plan is to cut 114 nursing jobs.

"I don’t know where I’ll go. It’s a bit intimidating," said assistant head nurse Pierre Coulombe.

Some jobs cut, others created

While Coulombe's job is disappearing, the CSSS Laval said it has created another 94 jobs.  It also said there are more than 400 unfilled positions within the organization, a great number of them in nursing.

The health agency did acknowledge, however, that some nurses whose jobs were cut may have to switch specialties and possibly lose seniority.

That worries Coulombe, who says it won't be easy moving to a new team and a new specialty, at this late stage in his career.

"I’m one year and two or three months from retirement. It’s difficult for me to accept that I’ll be put aside like old clothes, you know," he said.

Patient care unaffected, agency says

The CSSS Laval said the cuts won’t affect patients, but the nurses protesting on Monday said that’s not true.

"The time we spend with patients is cut in two now," said Louise Beaulieu, a nursing assistant at the Centre d’hébergement Fernand-Laroche.

"With all the cuts, you don’t have time to sit down and talk with patients. I have 27 patients I have to take care of. When I started 22 years ago, I could spend time with these patients. I didn’t have to rush," she added.

Some of those who have lost their jobs were notified last week. The rest will be told in the weeks to come.