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Canada's nurses want national hiring and retention strategy amid staffing 'crisis' widespread burnout

Logan Giesbrecht left his dream job as an emergency room nurse when the mental health strain of an understaffed department became unbearable, even before the pandemic's fourth wave hit and anti-vaccination protesters began gathering outside hospitals.

“The biggest frustration, and what I'm taking home from work, was basically doing the job of more than one nurse,” said Giesbrecht, who feared low staffing levels would risk patient safety.

He quit working at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, Canada, last April.

Representatives for nurses around the country are calling on the federal government to come up with a national plan to attract and retain nurses during a “crisis” they say needed action long before the uptick in cases from the Delta variant.

Statistics Canada released data this week from the second quarter of 2021 showing a steep rise in job vacancies for both registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, which are part of a single category in its analysis.

Those professions had the largest increase in vacancies of all occupations over a two-year period, up by 10,400 to 22,400 - a hike of nearly 86 per cent, the agency said, adding nearly half of the vacancies had been open for 90 days or more, compared with 24 days across all occupations.

Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, said it's not uncommon for some registered nursing positions to be vacant for a couple of weeks, as workers switch jobs within a hospital or health region, but having vacancies unfilled for 90 days or longer is unsustainable.

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Source: CP24 News, 24 September 2021


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