Burnout, shortage of nurses a problem, says the BC Nurses' Union

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The British Columbia Nurses' Union is calling on the provincial government to take action on the prime concerns discussed at its annual convention held virtually this week.

Burnout, the nursing shortage and violence in the workplace were the issues of most concern discussed by nurses at the convention, says a news release put out by the BCNU on Friday.

Union president Christine Sorensen praised nurses in her opening remarks for their toughness over the past year handling both the pandemic and the overdose crisis, both established as public health emergencies by the B.C. government.

“Working together as a family of nurses during this pandemic has shown us the strength in unity and the importance of supporting each other in our partnerships and teams,” Sorensen said.

She called on nurses to put pressure on their local MLAs to effect change on things like retention and recruitment of nurses.

Members were given time at the convention, to email their provincial government representatives about the subjects as well as what the BCNU calls an “unacceptable level of violence” in the workplace.

“Nothing should go back to normal. Normal wasn’t working. If we go back to the way things were, we will have lost the lesson,” said Sorensen.

The first BCNU convention was held on June 11, 1980 at the Empress Hotel where 200 nurses gathered, according to the union. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the union.