Central Health hires Jamaican LPNs to fill vacancies

Central Health is following Eastern Health's lead and has hired licensed practical nurses outside of Canada to fill a nursing shortage in central Newfoundland.
Central Health says it had no choice but to look internationally to fill a void in nursing staff in the central Newfoundland.

Central Health is following Eastern Health's lead and has hired licensed practical nurses outside of Canada to fill a nursing shortage in central Newfoundland. 

The health authority said it had no choice but to recruit staff from Jamaica to fill jobs for licensed practical nurses.

Trudy Stuckless, chief nursing officer, said Central Health contacted every school in Canada looking to fill almost 50 vacancies, but came up empty.

"You know with the increased scope of practice, you're seeing a greater usage of LPNs in various areas," Stuckless said.

"We have growth and demand at the same that we have a shortage in supply."

Stuckless said the local College of the North Atlantic campus is also pumping out fewer graduates from its LPN program.

Meanwhile, eight nurses from Jamaica are working their way through the immigration process.

They are expected to start work in the central region by the spring.

In November, Eastern Health hired 13 LPNs from Jamaica so more beds could open at the new long-term care facility on Newfoundland Drive in St. John's.