Quebec invests $1.5 billion to hire 2,000 "super nurses"

Quebec is looking to "super nurses" to be the heroes of healthcare.

Three years after promising to train 2,000 of these so-called super nurses in a decade—to help ease demand on the health care system—the Couillard government has finally unveiled its plan to educate and staff them.

Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette says $1.4 billion will be invested over 10 years. It will pay for the salaries of the nurses throughout, and also cover a minimum $60,000 scholarship to subsidize their studies.

"Our experience shows nurse practitioners are an undeniable positive contribution to our healthcare network," Barrette said in a statement. "We are putting all the resources in place to ensure that their training and their hiring are realized."

The Ministry of Higher Education is offering $25 million in extra financial aide—which Barrette said was made possible because of the recent agreement with Ottawa on federal health transfer payments—in a further bid to entice new students.

It is needed, as the government has not been meeting its enrollment targets. 

Only 100 students in all of Quebec were enrolled in a specialized nursing program for this academic year. The government needs to increase that to 270 students by 2021-2022, and the enrollment rate must remain there until the 2024-2025 fiscal year for Quebec to meet its goal.

Super nurses are considered "super" because they have advanced clinical experience in a specific field, and have graduate training in nursing and medical science.