For every ten nurses, four report wanting to leave the profession. Insufficient staffing levels and high workloads resulting from the current nursing shortage are the main factors fuelling the nurses’ desire to leave.
But we need care, so we need nurses. It is therefore imperative that the government implement effective measures to fix the problem before it’s too late.
United Nurses of Alberta is proposing implementing the research-backed 3Rs: Respect, Retain, Recruit Framework to solve the current nurse staffing crisis.
The framework is based on the practical experience of front-line nurses and can be implemented immediately to demonstrate a greater level of respect for nurses while improving the retention and recruitment of nurses working in Alberta’s public health care system.
Click on the tiles below to find our more about the 3Rs.
Provide funding and resources for ongoing education, training, and skill enchancement.
Implement flexible scheduling policies to help establish and maintain a healthy work life balance.
Ensure proper staffing levels, adequate personal protective equipment, and measures to prevent workplace hazards.
Ensure nurses have a seat at the table in policy discussions and healthcare reform initiatives.
Establish awards, honours and public acknowledgments for exceptional nursing contributions.
Offer accessible counselling services and stress management resources to address the emotional challenges nurses often experience.
It is also crucial that the government improve home care and access to mental health services as soon as possible and provide improved access to ambulatory and urgent care. This will relieve the pressure and overcrowding in emergency departments.
Streamline hiring processes for quicker staff placement, especially in rural areas, reducing temporary postings and overtime thus attracting more nurses.
Implement flexible scheduling options and supportive policies to help establish and maintain a healthy work life balance.
Replace OBP with patient-centred care strategies to ensure patient acuity guides staffing decisions, particularly in emergency and intensive care units.
Prevent nurses from doing non-nursing tasks, allowing them to focus on direct patient care with ample support staff.
Long Term Care
Expand publicly funded and delivered LTC beds, hire nursing staff to match patient needs, address the shortage and reduce the patients’ wait times in acute care.
Gather and Share
Require Alberta Health Services and other employers to regularly gather data to identify workforce issues and staff deficits.
UNA understands there are already efforts to improve the transition of internationally recruited nurses into the system and increase the number of nursing seats in Alberta. We support these efforts and look forward to working closely with the government and our coworkers from other health care unions on these issues.
UNA also looks forward to feedback from its members and additional ideas about how to address retention and recruitment of nurses.
Offer mentorship and transitional graduate programs for new nurses.
Extend the LOCUM initiative beyond AHS North Zone enabling its benefits for work sites in other zones.
Provide support for IEN’s to transition and meet additional credential requirements to enter Alberta’s nursing workforce.
Boost nursing school seats and funding to educate the next generation of nurses, including accessible bridging programs for LPN’s aspiring to be RN’s.
The government can create new scholarships and bursaries or match existing incentives in rural Alberta for nursing students.