On November 7 last, while giving an interview on 98,1 Charlotte FM, Kris Austin leader of The People's Alliance Party stated that if there is a need to fill 375 nursing positions in the province it is greatly due to hiring language restrictions. He suggested than bilingual obligations for nursing jobs should be eased in certain parts of the province.
It is a fact that more than 200 nursing positions are vacant in the Vitalité Health Network and at least 175 in the Horizon Network. This critical nursing shortage is a reality.
But hospital administrators, nurses and several political players do not consider language restrictions as a major cause in the hiring of nursing staff. They unanimously agree that the following factors are the main contributors to this crises:
-a 34% decrease in the number of nursing graduates from University of New Brunswick and l'Université de Moncton. In 2010, 339 students received their degree in nursing sciences from the two universities, whereas in 2018 there were 224.
-other provinces offer better working conditions, adding to the lack of interest in NB vacancies
- many obstacles prevent the hiring of immigrant nurses
-a sizeable number of nurses are of retirement age. According to The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), 41% of New Brunswick registered nurses will be eligible for retirement in the next five years.