Nova Scotia to offer jobs to all graduating nurses
Nova Scotia will offer jobs to all nurses who graduate from universities and the Nova Scotia Community College over the next five years.
N.S. Premier Tim Houston made the announcement Thursday morning in the legislature that every nurse who wants a job in Nova Scotia, from the current graduating class until 2026, will be guaranteed one with Nova Scotia Health, the IWK or the continuing care sector.
"We are taking bold action to solve the healthcare problems in Nova Scotia," said Premier Houston in the statement. "Every nursing graduate coming out of a Nova Scotia school over the next five years has a standing offer to work right here. I want nursing students to know we are not taking them for granted, and I hope this shows how much we value them and their skill, energy and compassion."
Nursing student Daria Hughes was hoping to stay and work in Nova Scotia once she graduates. Now, she’s confident she will.
"It’s definitely a huge relief to know that we have that job security, so yeah, I was really excited to hear the news," Hughes said.
But nursing student Alyssa Larade says students in her class were never worried about being hired.
She says being guaranteed a job doesn’t guarantee job satisfaction.
“Nurses are burnt out. And we’ve been approached by B.C. Health and we’ve been offered signing bonuses and different incentives and Nova Scotia Health Authority has yet to come to us with those incentives,” says Larade.
The initiative will be overseen by the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment. The province says all graduating nurses will receive information about available opportunities and receive job offers.
"Nurses are needed in so many areas across Nova Scotia - it's part of why I want to become a nurse,” said Anika Daclan, Co-president, Dalhousie University Nursing Society and Nursing Student. ”A guaranteed job offer to work in Nova Scotia when I graduate takes some of the pressure off as I complete my studies. This is the kind of forward thinking we need to keep new nursing grads here in the province."
Each year, Nova Scotia graduates about 700 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, who are educated at Dalhousie University, St. Francis Xavier University, Cape Breton University, Université Sainte-Anne and the Nova Scotia Community College.
"We wanted to send a signal to nursing students that they’re important and that we need them here," said Nova Scotia Health Minister Michelle Thompson.
The Nova Scotia Nurses Union says nurses are burning out. COVID-19, coupled with more than 1,300 vacancies across the province, has meant little vacation time and too much overtime.
"It’s one of the best news, nursing news stories in a very long time in my view," said Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union.
The union president believes the province’s commitment offers hope and the extra 3,500 nurses in the health-care system will have a tremendous impact.
"That is huge," Hazelton said. "That tells me that I’m not going to be working short, I am going to get my vacation, I am going to get my days off."