B.C. government adding 602 nursing seats in a move to address skills gap

The B.C. government is adding 602 new nursing seats to public post-secondary institutions in a move the B.C. Nurses’ Union calls a “promising step” toward addressing a staffing crisis in health-care.

The new seats will add to about 2,000 existing ones in nursing programs across the province.

They include seats for 362 registered nurses, 40 registered psychiatric nurses, 20 nurse practitioners and 180 licensed practical nurses.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the investment is about building B.C.’s future health-care workforce, while Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon says it will help close a skills gap.

Aman Grewal, president of the B.C. Nurses Union, says staffing levels were already critical before the COVID-19 pandemic and now nurses are tired, burnt out and need more support.

In a survey last month, 76 per cent of union members said their workloads have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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