New Brunswick Nurses Union president Paula Doucet has stated that there are at least 854 vacant nursing jobs in New Brunswick and that shortage is only getting worse. Also, the recent reduction of hours at some hospital ERs could be the ‘tip of the iceberg,’ Doucet added.
“Sadly, the thermometer is moving in the wrong direction as far as replacing these vacancies with registered nurses,” she said.
Recently, New Brunswick hospitals have reduced the operating hours of the emergency departments. They cited a shortage of nurses and other healthcare staff as the reason for this course of action.
Paula Doucet said those vacancies include nurses who are out on short-term and long-term sick leave. Also, it includes some nurses who are retiring, some who are working part-time in other provinces, and others who are leaving the profession altogether.
“Which is a sad state of affairs, but the working conditions, I believe, and the shortage, is pushing nurses out the door at a rapid pace,” Doucet said.
“So for the registered nurses that have been showing up each and every day short [of staff], with the added stress, with the whole piece around the lockdown and the outbreaks that our province had faced in recent months, you know, that all plays on the mental health of health-care providers.”
Doucet believes that authorities need to be “very aggressive” and think outside the box when it comes to the recruitment of new nurses.
“I don’t know if we’re going to see the end of this shortage any time soon, but I think we need to be thinking about how do we deliver health care to those within our province, and do it within the manners that we have the numbers to do so.”