10 nurses in BC Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal ER re­sign over un­af­ford­able hous­ing: union

The Miracle - - National & Int - Source: bc.ctvnews.ca

Metro Van­cou­ver’s hous­ing cri­sis is in­fect­ing other in­dus­tries, and some lo­cal nurses are feel­ing the symp­toms. Health care work­ers across the re­gion are leav­ing be­cause they’re un­able to af­ford to live near work, or pay for park­ing ev­ery day if they com­mute.“We’re stretched re­ally thin,” said Chris­tine Sorensen, pres­i­dent of the BC Nurses’ Union. So thin, the union says, the emer­gency room at BC Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal re­cently had 10 nurses re­sign, cit­ing hous­ing in­af­ford­abil­ity. The sud­den de­crease in staffing lev­els pushed an­other to trans­fer, claim­ing the con­di­tions were un­safe. “Nurses are com­pen­sated fairly and rec­og­nized for the work that they do, but it con­cerns me if nurses can’t af­ford to live and work here,” Sorensen said. “It’s dif­fi­cult to pro­vide safe pa­tient care when we’re not fully staffed.” Nurses earn an av­er­age salary of about $70,000 a year, but Sorensen said she of­ten hears from nurses that it’s still dif­fi­cult to get by in a city where the av­er­age sin­gle-fam­ily home costs more than a mil­lion dol­lars. There is cur­rently a 30 per cent va­cancy in the ER at the hos­pi­tal, the union told CTV News. The hos­pi­tal’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer says BC Chil­dren’s was able to main­tain a safe level of staffing dur­ing that time, and added that the hos­pi­tal is grow­ing. It’s in a new fa­cil­ity, mean­ing more jobs are be­ing cre­ated.“We’ve re­cruited a num­ber of po­si­tions and we have a new group of nurses start­ing in early Jan­uary,” Linda Lemke said. She told CTV News that among the hos­pi­tal’s strate­gies are proac­tive hir­ing, work­ing with ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and train­ing nurses on the cam­pus for spe­cialty care. Lemke said she “couldn’t say that there’s been a spe­cific trend” when it comes to nurses leav­ing the hos­pi­tal, telling CTV some have re­lo­cated, and some have re­tired or gone on ma­ter­nity leave. “We have seen peo­ple go, but we’ve also been able to re­cruit,” Lemke said.

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