“The current government needs to recognize and support existing front-line RNs, who are affected by the shortage – many cannot access time off.”
The shortage of Registered Nurses continues to plague numerous worksites across PEI. While there appears to be some recognition by government officials, recruitment efforts have yet to be successful in filling the growing number of vacancies across the province.
The Nurses’Union has been lobbying Health PEI and government to ensure extra efforts are put in place to retain and recruit more RNs and NPs. Evidence shows RNs and NPs provide positive health outcomes, including increased quality of care, decreases in mortality rates, infections, medication errors, falls, and a decreased length of hospital stay.
While the current nursing shortage is extensive, there are areas where it is more severe, especially in rural communities. Many health service areas have reached a critical state, and trained RNs and NPs are in high demand. In many cases, front-line RNs are under pressure to work overtime and additional shifts.
The current government needs to recognize and support existing front-line RNs, who are affected by the shortage – many cannot access well-deserved time off. These shortages not only creates a stressful work environment, but many nurses face obstacles when trying to move within the health care system.
PEINU believes that attracting and retaining nurses must be a priority. Front-line nurses matter. It is not possible to fix chronic understaffing issues that have occurred over a period of time without a significant number of nurses being hired.
With a rapidly aging population and more pressure than ever on health care services, there are simply no other options. Nurses are well-educated, highly skilled, and positively regarded by the patients and families they serve. There continue to be inconsistencies in the Governments response to the nursing shortage, despite ongoing appeals from PEINU to rectify the issue. Continued failure to respond to the current nursing shortage, will only result in compounding the problem in the future.
Both Health PEI and the government need to be more proactive, instead of reactive and make recruitment a higher priority.
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