P.E.I. government releases nursing strategy

The P.E.I. government has released its three-year nursing strategy that it says will strengthen and maintain the profession's workforce.

According to a press release, the Health P.E.I. Nursing Strategy: 2017-2020 was created in consultation with frontline nurses, educational institutions, nursing associations and unions and other health care providers.

The strategy has recommendations to maintain and advance nursing in four areas: workforce capacity, engagement and leadership, professional practice and innovation.

The province says priorities set out in the strategy include optimizing care, increasing the ratio of full-time to part-time nursing positions to 60:40 from 51:49, recruiting more new graduate nurses and launching the New Graduate Employment Guarantee Program.

Other priorities and the full report can be found at the strategy's website. 

Recruiting temporary, permanent positions

The province also says Health P.E.I. is recruiting for 29 permanent and 60 temporary nursing positions. In December, 12 registered nursing graduates were hired in permanent full-time positions. Also, the province says 33 registered nursing graduates will be offered permanent, full-time positions in the spring.

In Thursday's session of the provincial legislature, PC MLA James Aylward criticized the government for not hiring all 56 nursing graduates at UPEI, especially since there is a shortage of labour. He also raised concerns about working conditions under the province's current health care model.

"There is little relief for nurses. Casual pools are at an all-time low. Nurses are being denied vacation time and general time off to re-energize," he said.

Aylward added that he "applauded" the government's new strategy, but he was also concern it would "sit on a shelf and collect dust" like other strategies.

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