PEI continues to increase the number of nurses
Supporting Island families
The province is strengthening the nursing workforce to benefit Islanders by hiring more nurses under a new incentive program, increasing the number of nurse practitioners, and providing a new program to help internationally educated nurses to practice in PEI.
Since January 2019, PEI has hired 12 new registered nurse graduates into permanent full-time positions under the new Nursing Recruitment Incentive Program and another 40 or more graduates are will be offered positions under the program this spring. Health PEI is currently recruiting for approximately 80 permanent and temporary nursing position vacancies.
“Our nurses make a real difference in the lives of our patients, their families and communities across Prince Edward Island,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell. “Whether you are a new nursing graduate or have years of experience, PEI has a variety of nursing opportunities across the province, and we are working diligently to ensure our nursing workforce is strong.”
Government is also investing approximately $300,000 to hire five new full-time nurse practitioners, of which four will support large family practices in Queens County region, and one will support the provincial gastroenterology service to follow-up and monitor patients.
“As our population grows and the health care needs of Islanders evolve, the role of nurses becomes more important to ensuring Islanders continue to have access to programs and services that support their health and well-being,” says Marion Dowling, registered nurse and chief of Nursing, Allied Health and Patient Experience. “We are fortunate to have a resilient and dynamic nursing workforce in our province, and we are working to make it more responsive to improve continuity of care, attract more nurses and better address staffing challenges.”
In addition to the new hires, the province has launched a new RN Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) to support registered nurses who were educated outside of Canada to get the training they require to practice nursing in PEI.
“Nurses represent the cornerstone of our health care system,” said Minister Mitchell. “Many internationally trained nurses come to PEI with tremendous experience and the desire to work. By providing this new program, we are providing a pathway for them into our workforce.”
“A key action item of our Population Action Plan is to support individuals with foreign credentials to transition into work related to their occupation in our province,” said Workforce and Advance Learning Minister Sonny Gallant. “By having a RN Bridging Program in PEI, the process for international nurses will be expedited, allowing them to enter our workforce sooner and with ease.”
"The students registered in the pilot project have a rich, diverse background in nursing,” said Kerie Murphy, Coordinator and Instructor for RN Bridging Program. “They have a desire to be able to get back into the workforce in the RN role they were previously educated for, they are very engaging in the course, and are very happy to have this program running in PEI."
For more information on nursing and careers in health care on PEI, visit Jobs in Health Care.
Health and Wellness
Last year, Health PEI added 53 new nursing positions which inlcludes nurse practitioners, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. Currently there are 2,037 nurses working in health care settings across the province::
- 31 nurse practitioners (NPs)
- 1,440 registered nurses (RNs)
- 566 licensed practical nurses (LPNs)
Nurse practitioners work in a variety of health care settings across the province, including in primary care, oncology, long-term care, provincial renal program, diabetes program, COACH program and with the provincial orthopedic intervention clinic.
About the Nursing Recruitment Incentive Program
This new program is available to graduating registered nurses and nurse practitioners, as well as experienced registered nurses. Nurses hired under the program agree to a two-year return in service.
New graduate registered nurses and nurse practitioners receive a one-time $1,100 incentive to assists with the cost of taking the national nursing licensure exam and the cost of registration to practice on PEI.
For experienced nurses, the program provides a one-time $5,000 incentive to fill designated hard-to-recruit registered nurse vacancies within Health PEI.
About the RN Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs)
This is a new 13 month educational program to prepare IENs to be eligible to apply for registration with the College of Registered Nurses of PEI to practice nursing in in the province. IENs will benefit as it will ease the transition between varied knowledge levels and cultures, through comprehensive education on Canadian nursing practice.
Historically, IENs who wished to work in PEI went through the Registered Nurses Professional Development Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In fall 2018 the Halifax Centre informed PEI that, due to the increase in the number of applicants in Nova Scotia, they were no longer able to provide the educational support to IENs living on PEI.
The program is a one year pilot made possible by a $60,000 contribution from the Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning.
About the Nursing Strategy
In 2017, Health PEI released the province’s first-ever nursing strategy – 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 reviewing incentive programs and hiring more new graduate nurses.