Nursing shortage, safety and burnout top themes at BC Nurses’ Union Convention

NURSES from across the province gathered virtually from June 1-3 to review union business and call on government to address nurses’ issues.

In her opening remarks, BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) President Christine Sorensen spoke directly to fellow nurses, thanking them for their remarkable resilience shown over the past year and half managing not one, but two public health emergencies.

“Working together as a family of nurses during this pandemic has shown us the strength in unity and the importance of supporting each other in our partnerships and teams,” she said.

Reflecting also on the upcoming acknowledgement of the union’s 40th anniversary, Sorensen commended nurse activists from past and present for advancing the rights of members in the workplace and standing up for health care. Sorensen went on to remind the delegation that now, as the province begins its restart plan, nurses must put pressure on those who can implement the changes necessary to retain and recruit the nurses needed in British Columbia.

“Nothing should go back to normal. Normal wasn’t working. If we go back to the way things were, we will have lost the lesson,” she said. “It is time to raise our voices, to speak up and speak out.”

Delegates took time on the agenda to email their own MLAs, asking them to address the staffing shortage in this province and the increasing and unacceptable levels of violence nurses and others are facing every day while delivering care in BC.