Nova Scotia

Province plans to unveil nursing strategy in May

As the provincial government gets ready to release its nursing strategy, the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union says the province is dealing with a shortage.

The province says there are 135 vacant nursing positions in Nova Scotia right now

When nurses call in sick, it can be difficult to replace them. Sometimes, this means the ER has to close, which is a frequent problem in smaller hospitals like Shelburne. Health Minister Leo Glavine says he hopes new grads from the area will return home. (CBC)

As the provincial government gets ready to release its nursing strategy, the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union says the province is dealing with a shortage.

The president of the union says too many nurses are coming up for retirement and there aren't enough new grads to fill their shoes.

Janet Hazelton says efforts are being made to hire new nurses, but sometimes problems are encountered such as a position coming up on a unit and then a nurse from another unit applying for and getting the position.

"Well then, we just have another hole," said Hazelton.

The province says there are 135 vacant nursing positions in Nova Scotia right now.

When nurses call in sick, it can be difficult to replace them. Sometimes, this means the ER has to close, which is a frequent problem in smaller hospitals like Shelburne.

Health Minister Leo Glavine says he hopes new grads from the area will return home.

"If it is not solved by that natural process of people moving back to the community, then we will have to look at some other means to get nurses there," he said.

In the meantime, Hazelton says the shortage makes work all the more stressful for the province's 14,000 nurses.

"Many of our facilities are running their shifts on overtime," she said.

The province plans to release a nursing strategy in May.

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