Nursing Workforce; In this news the union representing nurses in Manitoba says a new report release that shows a decrease in the number of nurses employed in the province over the past year is disturbing to see. The province, though, argues the data in the report could be misunderstood. The Canadian Institute for Health Information’s report shows the overall nursing workforce in Manitoba has decreased by more than 550, from 16,622 in 2017 to 16,065 in 2018.
It’s very disturbing to see we do have less nurses in the system at this time, Darlene Jackson, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union said. Nurses are basically the Band-Aid that’s holding a broken system together with overtime and increased workloads. And that’s not something that makes it easy to recruit or retain nurses in our province. The institute’s data includes registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses and registered psychiatric nurses.
Cutting nursing jobs
The report also says the total number of employed nurses involve in directly caring; so for patients dropped to 14,304 in 2018 from 14,814 in 2017, a decrease of 510. Direct care is define as any nurse working in a myriad of fields, including hospitals, home care, rehabilitation and addiction services. The number of nurses working in hospitals; so community health and nursing homes also fell.
Overall, the number of register nurses and psychiatric nurses is declining; so while the number of license practical nurses is going up in Manitoba, according to the national health institute’s report. That’s a trend seen across the country. License practical nurses are limit in the type of medical care and assistance they can provide to patients. They do not carry as much responsibility or perform the same higher-level duties as register nurses.
The Manitoba NDP criticized Premier Brian Pallister Thursday for cutting nursing jobs, which Opposition Leader Wab Kinew said leaves the province’s health care system in a dangerous situation for Manitoba nurses and patients amid ER closures and cuts to the sector. For a number of years we’ve heard that surgeries are being cancelled, that patients are waiting longer in emergency rooms, and that health care is getting worse in Manitoba. And today we finally have an explanation for why.”
The Nursing workforce
The health authority says a total of 8,025 nursing positions were fill in 2018 up from 7,824 in 2017. The WRHA’s numbers say the number of register nurse positions fill was virtually unchanged from 2017 when there were 6,615 RNs to 2018, when there were 6,614 RN positions filled. The health authority’s figures are base on workforce numbers report to the province, Lamont said.
The claims made by Mr. Kinew and other critics are simply wrong, Health Minister Cameron Friesen said in an emailed statement. Friesen also stood by the health authority’s nursing numbers. The data include in this CIHI report could be misunderstood, the health minister’s statement said. This CIHI data includes 535 nurses who did not indicate where they are working within the province, Friesen said.
These nurses are indeed working, but for employers [other] than the regional health authority, including nursing agencies, private doctors’ offices, and surgery clinics, the statement said. To be clear, there are more nurses working today than one year ago,” the health minister said. They’ve continue to be clear there is a job for every nurse who wants one within the WRHA.