Financial strains on health care, the mass exodus of retiring nurses and a high attrition rates of nursing graduates will continue to have serious implications on our healthcare system. As nursing students and future registered nurses (RNs), these current healthcare facts urged the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) to write a letter explaining why nurses are essential to the healthcare system and some of the current challenges both nursing students and nurses are facing. Our hope is to bring these issues to the attention of candidates running for federal office in local ridings.
Nurses are the largest body of healthcare providers in Canada and are at the heart of patient care. Nurses work in all facets of the healthcare system including, but not limited to: community, clinical settings, government, rural and remote care, research and education. Nurses work intimately with patients offering highly skilled clinical expertise while fostering trusting relationships that are built on advocacy, professional responsibilities and client-centered care. Nursing leadership is integral to a strong healthcare system and must be advocated for and protected.
Between 1990 and the year 2000, 40 percent of graduate RNs left the profession due to the strain imposed on them by a lack of nursing mentorship stemming from nursing shortages. Attrition rates are associated with student debt, high stress working environments and staffing shortages. In 2010, $26,000 was the average student loan debt for Canadian students finishing a bachelors or masters program. In 2014, there was a significant reduction in RN license renewals compared to 2013. Contributing factors were retirement, changes in careers and changes in the regulatory body resulting in the first decline in decades. Public sector nurses worked 20,627,800 hours of overtime in 2010, the equivalent of 11,400 jobs costing $891 million per year.
In considering these facts, we are asking those who will be heading to Ottawa to form our new government to address student debt, provide mentorship for new graduates, and improve work environments and safe staffing levels for quality patient care. Please go to the CNSA website for more information at: http://cnsa.ca/english
If you agree with the listed recommendations please send the letter on the CNSA website to your local riding candidate to build awareness and create change! We have power in numbers and as the nurses of tomorrow we must rally together to support healthcare in Canada.
Thank you for your support and don’t forget to vote!
ABOUT CNSA The CNSA is the voice of nursing students and represents students in baccalaureate, practical, and psychiatric nursing entry-to-practice programs in Canada. For over forty years, CNSA has represented the interests of nursing students at local, provincial, national, and international levels, as well as within the nursing and healthcare communities. The CNSA, has nearly 30,000 members, is an affiliate member of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and Practical Nurses Canada, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) and Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN).
ABOUT MICAH THOMPSON Micah Thompson is a fourth year student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at North Island College in the Comox Valley. She was lucky enough to grow up with a mother who loves being a nurse and who sparked a passion for nursing inside of Micah at a young age. As a child, Micah wanted to grow up to help people like her mother did. As she has progressed through the nursing program, Micah has come to understand the responsibility and opportunity she has to advocate for the nursing profession and health care in Canada. In recognizing that just a few voices can create change, Micah wanted to work alongside the CNSA to inform election candidates of the current situation for nurses and nursing students today in hopes of making a positive change.