1,000 Burnaby school seats aim to tackle ‘staggering’ nursing shortage

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix is earning some praise from the B.C. Nurses’ Union for more than doubling the number of specialty nurse training opportunities by funding 1,000 seats each year at Burnaby’s BCIT.

Dix was at BCIT Monday morning to make the announcement.

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Specialty nurses work in high-skill areas ranging from emergency settings to intensive care units for high-risk cardiac care patients, to delivering babies and providing newborn care, to working with complex patients with multiple health challenges.

“As nurse vacancy rates continue to climb and B.C.’s health-care system struggles to meet demands, the BC Nurses’ Union commends the provincial government for its latest announcement to continue to invest in specialty nurse education opportunities,” said a news release from the BCNU.

“A direct consequence of the nurse shortage is the chronic reliance on overtime, responsible for keeping BC hospitals staffed.”

A report released last week by the Ministry of Health shows the provincial hospital system has been operating at over-capacity, and that the rate of overcrowding is increasing, said the BCNU. Furthermore, the province expects it will need upwards of 25,000 new nurses by 2030 to keep up with health care demands.

“This is a staggering number,” said BCNU president Christine Sorensen. “In order to meet this target, the focus must be on education and training opportunities, which is why we are glad to hear the government is following through on their commitment to meet B.C.’s patient and population needs.”

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