Social Justice

New Brunswick’s Nursing Shortage

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), 41% of Registered Nurses (RNs) in New Brunswick are eligible to retire in the next five years. Imagine, not having enough Registered Nurses to staff three of our largest provincial hospitals (Saint John, Moncton City and Fredericton)?

Intervention and innovative leadership are required by government to repair our healthcare system. Recent electoral promises to build more clinics and increase structural funding can only better the population’s health if RNs are adequately staffed to deliver the required level of knowledge and skills for safe patient care.

We have advocated for government to implement a strong and sustainable health human resource strategy. New Brunswick needs more than a band-aid solution. Government needs to implement a long-term solution and consider enhanced training/education programs to meet the population needs, international recruitment efforts and so forth. We strongly recommend that government support and require universities to allocate additional seats within the provincial faculties of nursing. When nursing graduates have successfully completed their program, we recommend government develop an employment model that encourages RNs to stay and work in the province by offering them permanent employment.

No one would challenge the fact that a neurosurgeon is needed to perform brain surgery, but we do not apply the same logic when it comes to nursing care. RNs and NPs are essential healthcare professionals who are experts in the delivery of healthcare based on their skills, education and training. RNs and NPs safeguard the quality of care, ensuring optimal outcomes and fewer adverse events. It is a fact, when governments cut professional nursing staff, costs go up elsewhere in the healthcare system, and the quality of care declines.