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Nova Scotia to restrict travel nurse contracts to a maximum of 180 days

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Nova Scotia is moving to restrict the amount of time so-called travel nurses can work in the province, and Premier Tim Houston is calling on other premiers to consider doing the same.

Houston says as of Dec. 15, nurses who travel from other areas or provinces to work at hospitals where there are nursing shortages can only be hired for a maximum of 180 days.

Houston says the change applies to all government contracts and is aimed at encouraging travel nurses to accept permanent positions.

Under the change, nurses who complete such contracts will have to wait for one year before they can be hired again as a travel nurse.

In addition, newly trained nurses won't be permitted to work as a travel nurse in the province until a year after graduating from a Nova Scotia university or college.

According to the provincial government, there are more than 350 travel nurses working in Nova Scotia at any given time.

"There will always be nurses who want to travel, but the change we are making today will encourage more to take on permanent positions where they are needed most," Houston said in a news release Monday. "I'm calling on premiers across the country to consider doing the same."

While Houston called travel nurses a "critical part" of bolstering the health system, he said their use has financial and other implications.

"The associated costs are much higher, and there is always the risk of them leaving, creating instability in the system," the premier said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2023.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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