The state of Nursing in BC


It’s National Nurses Week and we continue to recognize nurses as heroes not only across B.C but across the country and the world.

President of the B.C Nurses Union Christine Sorensen was on AM1150’s Early Edition.

She said their responsibilities and importance in the healthcare system are growing.

“We’ve always done teamwork but we all have our unique individual roles to play and when patients come into the hospital it’s the nurse that they see 24 hours a day. Many other health care partitioners, who are such important pats of the team, are not there 24 hours a day but the nurses are. 24/7 there with the patient, holding their hand, making sure they get the care that they need,” said Sorensen.

Sorensen pointed to data requiring 25,000 more nurses in B.C by the year 2030, on top of replacing the 40 percent that will retire in the next 10 years. 

“Right now we’re only graduating about 1,500 in this province so the math doesn’t add up. We do have to talk to the provincial government, particularly the Ministry for Advanced Education, to look at how we can expand nursing education knowing that nursing educators are also an aging workforce and are having difficulty retaining nursing educators, also a critically important part of our healthcare system.”

Sorensen said young people in the Okanagan who want to become nurses are being wait listed every year and the government needs to expand programs and opportunity for students.

Currently, there is an increasing number of nurses testing positive for COVID-19 in other parts of the world, said Sorensen and B.C may not understand the damage the virus has had on other healthcare systems.

“Those long hours of nurses working long hours with face masks on, dawning full PPE, exhausted at the end of their shift continue to happen around the world and we’ll see waves and waves of this. So, I think it is still a challenging time for us. We have been, I would say somewhat lucky in this province,” said Sorensen.

Over 400 healthcare workers have already been infected with this disease in British Columbia.

Of those, one dentist passed away.