What is Behind the Canadian Nursing Shortage?

The state of healthcare all around the world is growing at an astounding rate. As medical technology continues to improve and grow, those who are trained to treat patients aren’t being taught to do so. Without many incentives for becoming a trained healthcare professional—specifically a nurse—the number of those entering the field continues to decrease. This is leading to a nursing staff shortage not just in Canada, but around the globe, as well.

Nursing positions in Canada make up as much as one percent of all jobs available nationwide and an even greater percentage of jobs that aren’t filled;there simply are not enough trained nurses to fill all of the positions. Although it’s not as problematic in Canada as it is in other nations, such as the UK or the US, there is a growing trend in nursing deficiencies throughout Canadian hospitals.

As might be expected, most of the employment vacancies in Canada appear to be low-wage, low-skill labor positions. The only outliers are the higher-wage, high-skillpositions of orderlies, nurses, and nursing aides. Projections show that, in Canada alone, there may be as many as sixty thousand jobs left unfilled, because there are simply not enough trained nurses.

canadian-nursing

With the growing demand for nurses and oral surgeons Winnipeg, you would think that many people would find it to be an enticing career which would guaranteed employment.The fact is, however, that the nursing field requires a specific type of person and personality. Unlike other occupations, nursing is often pursued as more of a calling than for the high payment or status symbol.

There are many reasons for the shortage of nursing employees. Due to shifting operations within healthcare settings, many are opting to either get their doctor’s degree or a more specialized degree within the healthcare field. Others are looking to maintain a degree that takes less training,but has the same status and salary, such as a physician’s assistant.

What is also driving the shortage is Canada’slarge aging population. Just three decades ago, people didn’t live into their nineties or even their hundreds. The growing elderly population demandsmore skilled nurses, which is driving them out of the hospitals and into the nursing homes or vice versa. There just aren’t enough to go around.

Another issue is at the administrative level. When there is a shortage in any healthcare budget, typically the first employees to go are the nursing staff. Those with the highest pay and experience are the first on the chopping block, which means that a nursing degree is no guarantee for a good or secure job. In fact, it appears to be the exact opposite nationwide. As the government tightens up costs to help stop the deficit bleed, nurses who have worked hard to gain their status and their salary are suddenly finding themselves starting over.

It isn’t that nurses can’t find a job, but that the jobs they do find are usually entry level positions, which is something that not many want to face. The average age of those in the nursing profession is 42 years old, and no one wants to repeatedly start their careers over during their midlife. In most careers, this is the age at which you are established and have paid all of your dues. Unfortunately, nurses never seem to have any job security or to be allowed to build a career, bypass awful starting hours, and not be at the mercy of their employer.

Not only are not enough members of the younger generation entering the nursing profession, but whatCanada is also seeing is that many nurses are leaving the field. It is a challenging job without much praise, room for advancement, and the incentives that other occupations offer. Many are understandably leaving to pursue more stable, lucrative, and loyal careers.

Nurses are the backbone of any healthcare system, and without them, it is difficult for any organization to exist or thrive. The only way to meet the high demand for nursing is for systematic change that allows for nurses to be treated well both personally and professionally. After all, you can’t expect to entice a younger generation to follow a career path that will have them working horrible hours for little pay and even less recognition. To keep current employees and to increase the number of those entering the field, healthcare organizations need to reevaluate the importance of those in the nursing profession.

George Abbot

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