The Yukon government has reached an agreement with the Yukon Employees Union that may solve a chronic nursing shortage in rural communities.

The agreement will allow for community nurses to work part-time, on a rotational basis.

Health department spokesperson Pat Living said auxiliary on-call nurses, flown in from the south, suggested the concept.

"A lot of these folks have said to us that they wouldn't mind working permanent, they just didn't want to work full time," Living said. She said two nurses could job share, alternating in and out.

Living said it won't cost the government any more than the current situation, and other jurisdictions already offer nurses the same flexibility.

Pat Living

'We now have the ability to offer you a permanent, part-time position,' said Yukon government spokeperson Pat Living. (CBC)

"We have housing for our nurses in rural Yukon and we're already paying for these people to fly in. This just gives us the ability to fill these positions permanently and give some continuity of nurses in a community," Living said

Opposition politicians have complained about nursing care in rural communities, saying staff shortages mean nurses are getting burned out, putting patients' health at risk. 

Union president Steve Geick welcomes the territorial government's new plan. He said similar options should be offered to other government employees.