The British Columbia Nurses Union (BCNU) is calling on the province to find solutions as nurses and doctors continue to struggle under the weight of the most recent Omicron wave.
Record-breaking COVID hospitalization as a result of Omicron are taking a significant mental and physical toll on an already exhausted nursing workforce, BCNU says.
The union is renewing calls for more funding ahead of the upcoming provincial budget and are asking MLAs to address key challenges impacting B.C.’s health care system, two years into the COVID-19 pandemic. The experiences of nurses have been collected from all regions of BC and shared with MLAs asking for their commitment to address the current state of the health-care system.
“By sharing stories and specific issues from their ridings, MLAs are hearing about the harsh reality faced by nurses and patients who reside and work in their constituency,” says BCNU President, Aman Grewal.
“Although there are serious overreaching issues throughout the health-care system, such as a critical shortage of nurses, continued exposure to violence in the workplace, and the worrying decline of mental and physical health among nurses, our goal is to give our patients a voice and illustrate the impact these issues are having on their care.”
A recent survey indicates 35 per cent of all B.C. nurses said that the experience of the pandemic made them more likely to leave nursing in the next two years.
"What nurses told us is that they were at a breaking point long before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the added stresses they have endured throughout this extensive public health emergency has greatly impacted their mental and physical health. In fact, many nurses told us this has led them to consider leaving the profession they once loved," Grewal says.
The BCNU has sent letters to Health Minister Adrian Dix, Labour Minister Harry Bains and Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang asking them to work together to commit to solutions that address the nursing shortage in B.C.
“The service reductions we are seeing around the province are a direct result of not having enough staff, which is seriously impacting patient outcomes. On a daily basis, nurses are facing an unmanageable number of patients who need care and despite all of their very best efforts, they’re watching their patients suffer.”