AHEAD of the upcoming provincial budget, the BC Nurses’ Union is asking MLAs to act on behalf of their constituents and address several key challenges impacting BC’s health care system, two years into the COVID-19 pandemic. The experiences of nurses have been collected from all regions of BC and shared with MLAs asking for their commitment to addressing the current state of the health-care system.
“By sharing stories and specific issues from their ridings, MLAs are hearing about the harsh reality faced by nurses and patients who reside and work in their constituency,” said BCNU President, Aman Grewal, on Thursday. “Although there are serious overreaching issues throughout the health-care system, such as a critical shortage of nurses, continued exposure to violence in the workplace, and the worrying decline of mental and physical health among nurses, our goal is to give our patients a voice and illustrate the impact these issues are having on their care.”
BCNU renewed calls for immediate solutions as the health system continues to struggle under the weight of the most recent Omicron wave. This latest surge is responsible for record-breaking hospitalization numbers, which are taking a significant mental and physical toll on an already exhausted nursing workforce, BCNU added.
“Our nurses are speaking out on behalf of their patients,” said Grewal. “The service reductions we are seeing around the province are a direct result of not having enough staff, which is seriously impacting patient outcomes. On a daily basis, nurses are facing an unmanageable number of patients who need care and despite all of their very best efforts, they’re watching their patients suffer. As a result of this pressure, nurses are burnt out. It’s reached a point where many are telling us they just can’t do it anymore.”
In a recent survey, 35 percent of all nurses said that the experience of the pandemic made them more likely to leave nursing in the next two years. BCNU has sent letters to Health Minister Adrian Dix, Labour Minister Harry Bains and Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang asking them to work together within their respective ministries to commit to solutions that address the nursing shortage in the province.