Among hundreds of vacancies, NL. deploys incentives to retain nurses

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The Newfoundland and Labrador government has introduced a series of short-term incentives to retain nurses as the province grapples with hundreds of vacancies and even more consider leaving the profession.

“We know nurses have done an incredible job over the last two years in particular,” Premier Andrew Furey told reporters on Tuesday.

“But beyond that, they are the heart and soul of the healthcare system.”

This heavy burden has led many nurses to consider a new career path in Newfoundland and Labrador.

A recent survey of 700 local nurses suggested that half of them were considering leaving their permanent positions for casual work.

Nearly one in six considered leaving the profession altogether.

A think tank of nurses and government officials was convened in April to look at possible solutions. This work helped trigger the measures announced on Tuesday.

“We want to make sure that we provide the climate necessary to ensure that we are able to not only retain nurses, but also recruit nurses to Newfoundland and Labrador, said the Minister of Health, Tom Osborne.

Among the new short-term incentives:

  • Retention bonuses offered to members of the Registered Nurses’ Union NL for a minimum commitment of one year.
  • Signing bonuses for licensed casual nurses to accept a full-time or part-time position in an “area of ​​need” for at least one year.
  • “Double-rate overtime” for vacation periods, as part of an effort to build capacity to grant annual leave to nurses and reduce the number of compulsory and extended shifts.
  • Reimbursement of license fees and payment of liability insurance for retired nurses wishing to return to work for a fixed period.

These perks are all available through October 31.

In addition, a Registered Bonus pilot project has been established to support work in select locum positions at Labrador-Grenfell Health.

There are also plans for more mental health support and consideration of childcare options for people who don’t work 9 to 5.

And scholarships are available for third-year students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Over 600 vacancies currently in the system

There are over 600 vacancies and another 900 nurses who will soon be eligible for retirement.

Registered Nurses’ Union NL president Yvette Coffey says the shortage did not happen overnight and will not be solved overnight.

“Today we are here to announce hope – for registered nurses, nurse practitioners, healthcare workers and our patients,” Coffey said.

“We all hear stories every day: nurses leaving, patients waiting for surgeries and procedures, backlogs in emergency departments. We hope this gives hope to our members and to the public in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Prime Minister agreed and stressed the importance of collaborative relationships.

“I think to echo the sentiment of Ms Coffey, it gives hope and optimism for the future,” Furey said.

“Once again, nothing is going to change overnight, but it is recognition from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and from this government. [of] the value that nurses bring to the system, to the table, to society. »

Niki Parsons, a longtime nurse in rural Newfoundland, says her profession is in crisis and recently spoke out to let the public know the realities of the situation. (NL Registered Nurses Union)

The ad received cautious support from both provincial opposition parties.

“You know, it’s good to finally see the government sitting down with the groups and talking, talking,” said Conservative health spokesman Paul Dinn.

“The word ‘collaboration’ has been used so much over the past few years.…I believe the Prime Minister said it gives some hope that you realize what collaboration is and start listening to those who are in First line.”

Interim NDP Leader Jim Dinn said, “At first glance, it looks like the government is finally starting to listen to the needs of workers and the people who represent them. And it’s also going to provide better care for those who depend on doctors and nurses.”

At this time, the province refuses to give a figure on what all of these incentives might cost, although those figures are expected to be released soon.

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