Nova Scotia now says nursing students who work in long-term care in lieu of their clinical practicums will receive a $1,000 honorarium for their work.
On Thursday, Semester 4 nursing students at Dalhousie University received a letter saying they will spend two weeks starting Feb. 7 working in long-term care to help address the ongoing nursing shortage.
At the time, the understanding was that the work would be unpaid — something Barbara Adams, the minister of seniors and long-term care, defended on Thursday.
“As a former student myself, we were unpaid,” she told reporters. “It’s part of your training and we’d hope they’d understand that.”
Some students worried about the lack of compensation, as well as whether the placement would be considered for their clinical hours.
However, on Friday the province issued a news release saying they will be considered clinical placements, and students who accept and are not already being compensated through a co-op or another paid placement will be given a $1,000 honorarium.
“This will not significantly increase students’ workload beyond current course requirements, and it will support their educational outcomes,” the release said. “Key program milestones, like graduation, will remain on track.”
Dalhousie students will be joined by student nurses, continuing care assistants and licensed practical nursing students and instructors from St. Francis Xavier University, Cape Breton University, Université Sainte-Anne and the Nova Scotia Community College.
Up to 1,500 students and instructors could be eligible to participate, the release said, and they will be fully supported on-site by instructors and other supervisors.
As of Friday, 26 long-term care facilities were closed to admissions due to the workforce shortage and there were 1,913 people on the long-term care wait-list, with 312 waiting in hospital.