In Sudbury, and across the province, a growing number of nurse practitioners are leaving community clinics to earn higher salaries in hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Nurse practitioner and Laurentian University teacher Roger Pilon say, in recent years, nurse practitioners have found roles in hospitals and nursing homes where they can earn up to $20,000 more a year

While it's good for the nurse practitioner, he said it’s hard on the patients they leave behind.

“The patient becomes familiar and comfortable with their nurse practitioner, as their primary health care provider,” he said. “[And the patient has] to start over again.”

jennifer clement

Jennifer Clement, the director at the Sudbury District Nurse Practitioner Clinic in Lively, says four nurse practitioners left the clinic two years ago for fatter paycheques elsewhere. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

The director at the Sudbury District Nurse Practitioner Clinic in Lively said four nurse practitioners left the clinic two years ago for fatter paycheques elsewhere.

“Unfortunately it can come down to money,” Jennifer Clement said.

“They realize that if they stay in their current job, they make more money as a nurse than a nurse practitioner.”

Professional associations are actively lobbying the Ontario government to pay nurse practitioners the same, no matter where they work.

Pilon said higher salaries at hospitals, in nursing homes and in palliative care are luring them away. The annual pay for nurse practitioners in community clinics — $74,000-$89,000 — doesn't reflect more training and responsibility, he noted.

“An RN who has less responsibility and a smaller scope of practice after about eight years of experience can make even more than that.”