February 23, 2023

Beyond Broken: Registered Nurse Vacancies in Newfoundland and Labrador increase to 750


February 23, 2022

Beyond Broken: Registered Nurse Vacancies in Newfoundland and Labrador increase to 750

St. John’s, NL – Today, a startling new statistic on the provincial health care crisis was shared by the Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland and Labrador (RNU).

Based on government data recently released to RNU, as of October 2022, there were 752 registered nurse (RN) vacancies in Newfoundland and Labrador – a twenty two percent increase in only a six-month period (from 615 in April 2022).  

“In order to fix the health care crisis, we need to fix the nursing shortage,” says Yvette Coffey, RN and President of RNU. “Without enough registered nurses we can’t address the critical issues jeopardizing patient care in our province – we need more RNs to open long-term care beds, address the backlog of surgeries and procedures and improve wait times in our emergency rooms.”

Coffey warns the dramatic and rapid increase in RN vacancies is only going to get worse if the provincial government doesn’t act now to address retention and protect patient care.

“Solving the nursing shortage starts with retention. It’s crucial that we not only recruit new RNs but retain the incredible, hard-working RNs who are currently providing health care in our province. With skyrocketing rates of burnout, these highly educated and trusted professionals are being forced to walk away from full-time jobs, take jobs with travel agencies, or leave the profession altogether. We need to give RNs a reason to stay.”

This troubling new statistic comes as RNU works to negotiate a new contract for their members who are the lowest paid RNs and nurse practitioners (NPs) in the country. The union wants to secure a better deal for their members with a focus on competitive salaries, safer and healthier working conditions, and improved access to leave.

Going hand-in-hand with contract negotiations, RNU stresses the criticality of government focusing on retention of RNs in the bilateral agreement for federal health monies and increasing investment in health human resources in the upcoming Budget 2023.

As part of the Beyond Broken campaign, RNU this month launched new powerful video testimonies in which RNs, NPs  and a patient bravely share their experiences and stories depicting the dire state of the system.

RNU is asking the public to raise their voice for better health care.

Visit beyondbroken.ca or search the hashtags #BeyondBrokenNL and #RaiseYourVoiceNL to learn more about the campaign opportunities to stand with RNs and NPs, including posters, social media profile photos and MHA email forms.