A report by two commissioners for the Quebec Order of Nurses suggests a series of short- and long-term solutions to validate the profession and keep nurses in the health-care network, already struggling with a nursing shortage.
In a 104-page report, commissioners Francine Ducharme and Robert Salois made 31 recommendations to improve the nursing profession in Quebec. Above all, it highlights an urgent need for change.
“If we don’t want to go through another period, difficult period with the nurses being not available or leaving the system, these considerations should be taken,” said Salois.
One key proposal is mandatory university education. If implemented, nurses would need a baccalaureate to practice nursing. Currently 42 per cent of all nurses in Quebec have a CEGEP degree.
Nurses from the university level can do more with the patients, compared to nurses coming from the CEGEP said Salois.
When asked if requiring more education would discourage people from joining the profession, Ducharme said, “In all provinces where it was done, in B.C. or in Alberta there were more nurses in the system after the change.”
FIQ vice-president for mobilization and communications Kristina Hoare said she doesn’t think it will help with the estimated 4,000 nurses missing rom the health-care network.
“It’s not going to help right now with the shortage of nurses to tell them, hey, you want to be a nurse, well, you can’t just do your CEGEP. You have to go and do another couple of years of university afterwards,” she said.
Despite the current shortage, the report says the number of nurses is actually increasing. Leading to the need for a standardization of care.
“Take at the Jewish, take at the CUSM, they don’t have temps supplementaire, they don’t have, because they are managed properly,” said health minister Christian Dubé.
To provide proper care, the report suggests a maximum number of hours worked and a nurse to patient ratio be established — something that Hoare said the FIQ is happy about because they have been pushing for “safe” nurse-to-patient ratios for years.
Now it’s up to the health-care network to implement the recommendations that many hope will provide a life line to a struggling profession.