The province is funding an additional 602 new nursing seats at post-secondary institutions to deal with the shortage in nurses in B.C.
In a Sunday (Feb. 20) press release, the province said that the 602 seats are in addition to the about 2,000 already in existence. The new seats include 362 registered nursing seats, 40 registered psychiatric nursing seats, 20 nurse practitioner seats and 180 licensed practical nursing seats across 17 post-secondary institutions.
Some of the news seats will also support health-care assistants who want to train as licensed practical nurses and licensed practical nurses who want to train as registered nurses.
B.C. Nurses’ Union president Aman Grewal called the new nursing seats a “promising” step.
“Nurses staffing levels were already critical before the pandemic, responsible for creating cracks in the system that have only deepened,” Grewal said at a provincial press conference Sunday.
“Now, our nurses are tired, they are burnt out and they need more support.”
Grewal said that even in spring 2021, 76 per cent of nurses said their workload had increased since before the pandemic and that 51 per cent of ICU and emergency room nurses said that their pandemic experience made them likely to leave nursing in the next two years.
“What we need is more nurses,” she added.
The new nursing seats are part of the province’s StrongerBC’s Economic Plan, which was released last week.