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‘What drives me is caring for people:’ Pandemic health-care burnout not deterring nursing students

Click to play video: 'Pandemic health-care burnout not deterring nursing students' Pandemic health-care burnout not deterring nursing students
The last two years have been extremely challenging for healthcare workers with many experiencing burnout or even leaving the industry but new grads are still entering the field – May 4, 2022

Becoming a nurse wasn’t something Tayla Germsheid always dreamed of doing.

Her initial plan was dentistry, but when her passion changed, she switched health care directions.

“I decided to go into nursing because I’ve always had a big heart and I’ve always cared about people quite intensely in a good way and I thought nursing would be the perfect way to show how big of heart I have,” Germshied said.

Read more: 1 in 3 B.C. health-care workers say they want to quit in next 2 years

As Germsheid wraps up her second year of nursing school at the University of Saskatchewan, she’s confident it’s the right choice for her and her timing couldn’t be better.

“They’ve gotten to see a lot more of health care than some students in other years,” USask College of Nursing clinical coordinator Michelle Patterson said.

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Staff shortages in health care throughout the pandemic have made the role nursing students play even more crucial.

Statistics Canada says the country has added more than 10,000 nursing vacancies during the pandemic, a 75-per cent increase.

Read more: Hospitals grapple with ‘historical’ staff absences, burnout amid 6th COVID wave

“Nursing students provide so much extra care for patients, they have the time to talk to patients,
Patterson said. “They’re just that extra helping hand.”

Becoming a nurse isn’t without challenges. With only 345 seats in the program at USask, the first hurdle is admission.

“We approximately have two people who apply for every seat that we have available, so more applicants than what we can allow into our program,” USask College of Nursing dean and professor Sonila Richter said.

Next year the program is adding 62 new seats. So despite nursing burnout caused by the pandemic, it’s not deterring students away from the program.

Those passionate about the industry will do it regardless.

“What drives me is caring for people in any way they possible need and I put them before I put myself and sometimes that leads to burnout, but I think the reward is so much bigger than the risk,” Germsheid said.

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