The Newfoundland and Labrador government plans to announce financial incentives for nurses and other health-care workers at a news conference this afternoon.
According to a press release from the provincial government, Premier Andrew Furey, Health Minister Tom Osborne and Yvettte Coffey, president of the provincial Registered Nurses’ Union, will be at the news conference, scheduled for 1 pm NT.
Nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador are rapidly leaving the profession, with more than 600 current vacancies and another 900 nurses able to retire.
some, like Lauren Byrnehave even quit permanent positions to become casual workers, something helped in the profession say they’re considering.
Some health authorities in the province have been relying on travel nurse agencies, which nurses pay with public funds but at a higher rate than health authorities, to fill gaps.
In Tuesday’s press release, the Health Department said bonuses and incentives aim to “improve both the workplace environment and the retention of nurses in the province.”
Retention bonuses for permanent or temporary registered nurses and nurse practitioners are available in return for one year of service, and so is a signing bonus for casual RNs who accept a full or part-time position in “an area of need” for one year, said the release.
Both incentives are available until Oct. 31
There will be signing bonuses for other health-care workers in some hard-to-fill jobs ranging from $5,000 for one year of service to $10,000 for two years of service.
Bonuses are even higher for rural and remote areas, with a $20,000 bonus in return for two years of service in parts of coastal Labrador.
The department also says they’ll have a double rate of overtime for vacation periods to help fill shifts so employees can take vacation, while reducing mandated and extended shifts.
The release says the province will also reimburse retired nurses for the $500 licensing and liability insurance fee they pay to the College of Registered Nurses, if they work for a specified period of time.
Other initiatives include a locum premium for registered nurses to work in Labrador-Grenfell Health, exploring options for child care outside standard hours, mental health support groups and efforts to create 24/7 support and bursaries for bachelor of nursing students in their third year of studies.