Photo Credit: MedicAlert UK (via unsplash)
According to a recent report released by CBC news, there are more than 600 nursing vacancies in Newfoundland and Labrador, and 900 more nurses will soon be eligible to retire, leaving around 1500 nursing positions vacant. The COVID-19 pandemic has played a role.
While the last two years have been difficult for everyone, very few have been exposed to the realities of the pandemic to the same degree as our healthcare workers.
Over 600 nurses in our province have decided to either retire or leave their permanent full-time positions for casual status in the last year, contributing to Newfoundland and Labrador’s current healthcare crisis.
Andrew Barron, a CVICU nurse, has worked in NL throughout the pandemic and shared his perspective on the current nursing crisis in our province.
“There has been an ongoing struggle of a high patient-to-nurse ratio that has preceded the pandemic. Covid-19 simply exacerbated the problem and brought it to the forefront of the media,” Barron said.
When asked about the mental and physical burnout that many nurses are facing, he said,
“There is definitely a large movement of people abandoning full-time positions due to these issues. The NL government is taking the right steps in offering bonuses and incentives for nurses to take full-time positions– but there are still many new nursing school graduates who are choosing a casual status over being a full-time nurse.”
While flexible scheduling and time off associated with casual positions may be enticing, many full-time positions need to be filled.
Full-time positions offer the experience you’ll need as a newly graduated nurse. Due to the growing necessity for more individuals to fill these positions, we can expect the nursing employment rate in NL to skyrocket within the next year.
What does this mean?
For students, this can be considered positive news. Now could be the ideal time to join the nursing program at Memorial.
Our province needs bright young minds to take the initiative and become the next generation of nurses. At the same time, the role is in high demand.
Memorial University’s nursing program is both challenging and rewarding and designed to help students succeed.
For example, third-year nursing students can apply for bursaries that will prepare them for the healthcare system and ensure they are appropriately equipped to take on such a valued and vital role.
But don’t take it from me, I recently spoke with Laura Rodgers, a current MUN nursing student, asking how she found the program so far.
“Between the heavy workload and clinicals, being a nursing student requires both hard work and dedication—but it will all be worth it when I graduate and become a nurse. The program is full of professors and instructors who truly do their best to see their students succeed. It’s a community of peers who support and push each other to do their best,” Rogers said.
With all that said, two things seem abundantly clear:
(1) The nursing profession is swarming with opportunity right now, and (2) MUN’s Faculty of Nursing is ready to prepare the next generation of nurses to take on the role we so desperately need.