The Capital District Health Authority’s hunt for experienced nurses is raising eyebrows in New Brunswick where some claim targeted ads are designed to poach specialized people from the province.
There's no shortage of nursing students eager to land a full-time job in the Maritimes, but the same cannot be said for nurses trained in specialized care.
Surgical units, emergency departments, and cardiovascular care departments all require specialized training that can take years to learn.
With more than 50 positions to fill, Capital Health has taken out full-page newspaper ads in an effort to recruit people for Nova Scotia hospitals.
"We started to advertise back in October in other provinces and other countries," said Bruce English, a spokesperson for Capital Health.
Joan Kingston, with the University of New Brunswick's nursing faculty, said tighter health budgets are likely behind what she calls Nova Scotia's "poaching" of experienced nurses.
"They've got all these skills and abilities, that's a big investment for any employer. So if you can get one easily by recruiting across another provincial border, then that would be very cost effective for you," she said.
Kingston said Nova Scotia's appeal for such nurses will likely be successful.
She said many would like the idea of working in a big city like Halifax but still remain within easy driving distance of New Brunswick.
"The easiest thing would be to poach. Nova Scotia is very attractive for N.B. nurses in that it's close to home. So it's not, in my opinion, a big stretch to think that this would bear fruit for them," she said.
But Kingston said that New Brunswick is dealing with shortages of its own and can’t afford to lose specially trained people. English said he doesn’t see it as poaching.
"It’s more or less making people aware of the opportunities we have here," he said.
Joan Jessome, the president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, said the move is an effort to make up for experienced, specialized nurses in the province.
"In the areas that have been described in the ads, there are a lot of shortages, so I'm not surprised at all that they're going outside of province," she said.
Nova Scotia isn't offering any incentives to entice nurses but it will pay moving expenses.
With nearly two dozen successful recruits so far, English said this campaign will likely continue for months to come.