PEI

Nurses on P.E.I. facing pressures of aging workforce, vacant positions

The head of nursing for P.E.I. says it's important to recognize the province's — especially as they continue to deal with the pressures of an an aging workforce and vacant nursing positions to be filled.

'I’m a little biased but I do feel like they’re the backbone of our health system'

Health PEI's chief of nursing says nurses are 'the backbone of our health system.' (CBC)

The head of nursing for P.E.I. says it's important to recognize the province's nursing staff — especially as they continue to deal with the pressures of an an aging workforce and vacant nursing positions to be filled.

Monday marked the start of National Nursing Week, which recognizes nurse practitioners, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses across the country.

With an aging workforce and vacant nursing positions to be filled, Marion Dowling says there's plenty of pressure on P.E.I. nurses at the moment. (CBC)

"We want to recognize, this week in particular but every day, the thanks that nurses get for their work they do and how much they do contribute to our health care teams," Marion Dowling, the province's chief of nursing, told CBC News: Compass.

"I'm a little biased but I do feel like they're the backbone of our health system."

Last April, Health PEI released the three-year nursing strategy with a focus on recruitment and retention. 

"The main group of our casual staff tends to be retired nurses. Acute care is an area where most nurses begin their career," said Dowling. "They do feel the pressure in acute care in some of the specialized units."

The provincial nurses union office celebrating National Nursing Week. (Prince Edward Island Nurses Union/Facebook)

Dowling said since the strategy was released Health PEI has hired 90 registered nurses into either permanent or casual positions.

But, she said, there's more positions to fill and there are many Islanders still wanting to enter the profession.

"We still have a lot of people interested in the nursing profession, which is wonderful," she said. "There are lots of jobs and we want to hire the new graduates."

Nursing week runs from Monday to Sunday, May 13.

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With files from CBC News: Compass

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