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“We’ve been asking for this for 25 years,” BC Nurses Union CEO on new patient-nurse ratios

Earlier this month, the provincial government announced it would be making a $750 million investment over three years to roll out a new staffing model for nurses.

It aims to ensure a certain ratio of patients to nurses is met – one-to-one for critical care patients, one nurse for every two mental health patients, one-to-three for specialized care patients, and four-to-one for palliative care patients.

“This is something we have been asking for for a very long time, about 25 years,” Jim Gould, the interim CEO of the BC Nurse’s Union told Vista Radio.

“It is an opportunity to improve the quality of patient care and the work experience for all of our nurses,” he said, adding it will also decrease patient mortality and nurse injuries.

Staffing shortages are still an issue in hospitals, Gould believes this announcement will be shortly followed by another that will help bring in and retain new nurses.

Gould citied the $750-million investment, and said he has also heard international recruitment efforts are also moving full steam ahead.

“The sincere hope and expectation is that, like other jurisdictions like California and Australia, who were in similar situations many years ago, that moving to minimum patient-nurse ratios will expedite recruitment and get us out of this situation faster than anywhere else in Canada.”

He added the deal and steps taken indicate the province is taking the issues seriously and is respecting nurses in the province.

  • With files from Josiah Spyker, My East Kootenay Now

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