As universities and colleges wrap up their semesters, a small influx of nursing graduates will soon be working at the North Island Hospital campuses.
Island Health is accepting 11 postings each for nurses at the Comox Valley and Campbell River hospitals.
“There aren’t that many unfilled positions, but at this time of year, we look to over-staff because we have graduates coming out [of school] and we’re trying to attract,” said Meribeth Burton, an Island Health media relations representative. “And we have nurses retiring throughout the year.”
The hires are for casual and temporary positions and will be in the home care, pediatric and psychiatric units.
While the positions are not full-time, the new hires should help alleviate some of the workloads experienced by the new facilities’ staff.
Previous reports revealed the Comox Valley’s new hospital has frequently operated above its patient capacity since opening in October 2017. Such overflows mean some patients are treated in hallways.
Christine Sorensen, the acting president of the BC Nurses Union, said the additional nurses will help lessen some of the stress experienced by nurses working overtime or covering extra shifts.
“At a time when there is a general nursing shortage looming, we’re pleased VIHA is hiring additional nurses for these facilities,” she said.
“We certainly hear about it from the nurses that they are understaffed and overcapacity,” Sorensen added. “We have been advocating for a period of time that (current) staffing is not appropriate.”
Burton said the new nurses are mostly coming from Vancouver Island institutions, including the University of Victoria, Vancouver Island University, North Island College, and Camosun College.
“It’s a competitive marketplace for people in the medical fields,” she said. “We feel it’s a good time to look to the marketplace with graduates.”
Burton said Island Health aims to recruit between 200 and 240 nursing graduates (RNs and RPNs) annually.