New Brunswick looks to other jurisdictions for nurses amid ongoing shortage

Click to play video: 'Maritime provinces grapple with shortage of health-care workers'
Maritime provinces grapple with shortage of health-care workers
WATCH: Provinces in our region are trying to do whatever they can to fill thousands of position in the health-care system. As Zack Power reports, experts say a unified approach would help recruitment and retention. – Jan 31, 2023

Shortly after Ontario outlined it would allow health-care workers registered in other Canadian jurisdictions to immediately practise in Ontario without having to register with a provincial regulatory college, New Brunswick moved on to Quebec, poaching nurses at a career fair.

Officials from Vitalité Health Network told Global News that they anticipate being at several career fairs in the next few weeks, making stops in Chicoutimi, Montreal and Rimouski in an attempt to alleviate a critical nursing shortage.

“It should be noted that recruitment from other Canadian provinces is not new,” stated Frederic Finn, vice president of employee experience with Vitalité, in a statement to Global News.

“Vitalité Health Network recognizes the current health human resources challenge and is working with the Department of Health and Horizon Health Network to find solutions. We also recognize that all Canadian provinces and jurisdictions are facing this same challenge.”

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Click to play video: 'Internationally educated nurses help fill shortage'
Internationally educated nurses help fill shortage

Researchers in Nova Scotia aren’t surprised by the moves, saying that shortages have been in the sightlines for a significant period of time.

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Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, vice-president of research with Nova Scotia Health, said she has seen many health-care professionals leaving the province looking for a change in workload and looking for better opportunities.

She said that opening the doors to having workers not need to register with regulatory colleges could ease some of the issues in health-care systems in Atlantic Canada, noting that possibly working on licensing with other eastern jurisdictions may be beneficial.

“There’s a different way we could be doing this,” told Murphy on Tuesday. “In Atlantic Canada, we could be looking differently than doing it in all four provinces.”

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Almost all doctors in Canada support changes to medical licensing that would make it easier for health workers to see patients anywhere in the country, according to a new survey.

The Canadian Medical Association online survey of more than 5,000 working and retired physicians and medical learners found 95 per cent would like to see a pan-Canadian licensing program adopted in Canada. The survey was conducted Nov. 18-30, 2022.

“Multi-jurisdictional licenses have actually improved the mobility of workers across the United States and Australia,” told Dr. Kathleen Ross of the Association.

“There would be very little desire to have job fairs and recruit to other areas if the standards were the same across the country.”

Ross said that opening up pan-Canadian licensing would open the doors to more nurses in rural and northern parts of Canada.

According to the New Brunswick nursing union, there are roughly 1,000 vacant positions across the province.


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