MEDIA RELEASE: Travel Nursing Limitations Positive Step

We are pleased to hear the government is finally taking steps to introduce limitations on how travel nurses can be used within our public health care system.

“The NSGEU has long advocated against Nova Scotia Health’s increasing reliance on travel nurses, rather than investing properly in compensating full-time, permanent, unionized nursing staff in our health care system,” said Sandra Mullen, President of NSGEU, “In fact, we first called attention to this problem back in 2016, when we discovered NSH had spent nearly $900,000 in eleven months bringing in out-of-province nurses to cover shortages on just four units.” Since then, costs have ballooned, with the Department of Health recently admitting that since the fall of 2021, they have spent $45 million on travel nurses to work as RNs, LPNs and CCAs in the long-term care sector alone.

Not only has this practice obviously proven to be far more expensive, it can be disruptive and demoralizing to have outside contract staff working side-by-side with staff nurses, while earning far higher wages and having the opportunity to turn down less desirable shifts. Furthermore, travel nurses can be unfamiliar with working conditions in specialized units, and unable to access computer systems that nurses rely on to care for patients properly, which ends up increasing the burden on staff nurses.

It is safer and healthier for our public system to ensure the staff who are working in our hospitals are permanent staff nurses. We look forward to government taking further steps to make the sector more attractive and appealing for nurses and other health care professionals.

The Council of Unions was able to negotiate with employers to establish important improvements to both working conditions and compensation that will help to both recruit and retain nurses in Nova Scotia.

Related Articles

Start typing and press Enter to search