Immigrant nurses needed to fill labour shortages in NB
Immigrant nurses are desperately needed in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. NB recently proclaimed a Nursing Resource Strategy, with a report prescribing immigrant RNs for its growing nursing labour shortage. The strategy calls for active recruitment of nurses from countries having “nursing education programs with similar nursing professional standards, competencies, and credentials” to New Brunswick.
Up to 4,376 RN jobs may need to be filled by 2028 according to the report.
NB’s population is ageing faster than any other jurisdiction in Canada, in what the provincial government has alarmingly called a “critical demographic situation.”
The recruitment of internationally educated nurses (IENs) is one of four priority “action items” that the province’s Nursing Resource Strategy says are needed to meet the accelerating demand for health services and long-term care for a rapidly ageing NB population.
“New Brunswick has one of Canada’s oldest populations and is ageing at a greater rate than other jurisdictions,” it notes. “New Brunswick has the highest percentage of population over 65 years of age when compared to the rest of Canada.”
The province’s nurses are not exempt from this trend — 41 per cent of registered nurses (RNs) in New Brunswick are 50 years of age or older, the report says.
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Combined with declining enrolment in the province’s bachelor of nursing programs and an attrition rate of 30 per cent for nursing students, the province’s ministry of health projects a shortage of at least 130 registered nurses (RNs) each year over the next 10 years.
“This means that by 2028 there could be a deficit of approximately 1,300 RNs in the New Brunswick health-care system,” the document notes.
During this same period, it is estimated that 4,376 RN jobs will open.
“The province finds itself at a crossroads where the number of nurses in the workforce is decreasing and the demand for their services keeps increasing.”
“Nurses play a significant role in the provision of high-quality care in an efficient, patient-centric health-care system,” New Brunswick’s Health Minister, Hugh J. Flemming, said in a statement. “We are going to continue to face a shortage of nurses unless we take action now to ensure we have enough nurses to serve our population.”
Among the strategy’s recommended action items:
the establishment of a program that would help IENs find work in New Brunswick’s health-care sector while their applications for registration are in progress “to allow for a positive integration into the workforce.”
a process for offering permanent employment (full-time and part-time) to New Brunswick graduates and RNs recruited from other provinces or countries and the possibility of a signing bonus in exchange for a three-year commitment to serve in rural areas of the province.
New Brunswick’s Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister, Trevor Holder, said a number of the strategy’s action items “are already underway.”
Maureen Wallace, president of the nurses association also stated that “The Nurses Association of New Brunswick supports any effort to address the nursing shortage and will continue to participate on the nursing resource strategy, as we anticipate immediate action to further implement the plan.”