Health PEI continues to invest in nurses
Supporting Island families -
Hiring more nurses across the province – as part of the province’s first-ever nursing strategy – will help ensure stable health care for Islanders now and into the future.
Since January, Health PEI has hired 64 new graduate nurses, including 13 this December. Another 17 new graduates were hired into casual positions, with at least four more to be offered casual employment over the coming weeks. Health PEI is currently recruiting for approximately 100 permanent and temporary nursing position vacancies.
“Nurses are vital to the delivery of high quality health care, and we are fortunate to have professional and caring nurses working throughout our health system,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson. “We are very much committed to continuing our collaboration with health care partners to fill nursing vacancies across the province and implement the priorities outlined within the nursing strategy, ensuring that we are creating a strong and stable nursing workforce and profession to support Islanders."
Health PEI in April released its three-year nursing strategy - Health PEI Nursing Strategy: 2017-2020 (www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/health-pei/health-pei-nursing-strategy-2017-2020) - which outlines the direction for the nursing profession within the province. Among the strategic priorities is building and strengthening recruitment and retention activities, including hiring more new graduate registered nurses.
The strategy was created after consultations with frontline nurses, educational institutions, nursing associations and unions, and other health care providers. The strategy defines “nurse” as regulated nurses – nurse practitioner (NP), registered nurse (RN) and licensed practical nurse (LPN).
“We have a dynamic nursing workforce and we are working to make it more responsive to pressure points that can occur due to leaves, retirements and unexpected vacancies,” says Marion Dowling, registered nurse and chief of Nursing, Allied Health and Patient Experience. “We continue to make more nursing positions full-time to improve continuity of care, attract more new graduates and better address staffing challenges through collaborative resource planning.
“Nursing resources are an important cornerstone to the nursing strategy,” she said, “which also outlines priorities to support and advance our nursing profession now and into the future.”
Other action items from the nursing strategy that are well underway or nearly completed include:
- identifying opportunities to increase the part-time to full-time staff ratio;
- working with professional associations and the Department of Health and Wellness to identify opportunities to amend legislation and regulations that will advance the nursing profession;
- establishing a mechanism to more consistently and broadly promote educational opportunities for nursing;
- carrying out clinical education about dementia for nursing; and
- carrying out education about cultural diversity for nursing.
The Provincial Nursing Leadership Committee will continue to oversee the implementation of the nursing strategy over the next three years. The committee will collaborate with nursing leaders, other health care providers, patients, family/caregiver representatives, professional organizations, unions, educational institutions, and members of Health PEI’s Senior Management Group to achieve the priorities and objectives outlined in the strategy.
There are currently 1,954 nurses working in health care settings across the province, including:
- 22 nurse practitioners (NPs);
- 1,381 registered nurses (RNs); and
- 551 licensed practical nurses (LPNs).
Over the past 10 years, the health care system has added 34 percent more registered nurses and 40 percent more LPNs.
The Health PEI Nursing Strategy: 2017-2020 outlines five strategic priorities:
- building and strengthening recruitment and retention activities;
- creating and sustaining empowered work environments for nurses;
- fostering excellence in clinical practice;
- optimizing the patient experience through effective collaboration and partnerships; and
- lead innovation to provide optimal care for patients.