FOR the first time in history, the World Health Organization (WHO) is recognizing the nursing profession by marking 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. This year also coincides with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, one of the founders of modern nursing.
BC Nurses’ Union President Christine Sorensen welcomed the decision on Tuesday to recognize nurses and their dedication to improving health on a provincial, national and global level. However, she added that more than ever, the profession is facing its share of challenges with increased patient acuity, complex population needs, and a health care system that is struggling to meet demands.
“These factors are behind the growing number of nurses who are experiencing moral and professional distress,” said Sorensen. “Statistics show BC will require 25,000 new nurses by 2030 to keep up with the health care demands of this province. We will continue to call on the provincial government to address the urgent need for resources and education in 2020 and into the future.”
BCNU said it remains very concerned about the chronic reliance on overtime that’s keeping hospitals staffed and would like to see constructive solutions to address the shortage of nurses in the province.
“In 2018, health authorities spent over $160 million dollars on overtime,” said Sorensen. “This is an expensive practice that’s behind much of the employee burnout we are witnessing. We truly hope the challenges that exist in the profession can be better examined as the world recognizes and celebrates all nurses who have dedicated their lives to providing safe patient care.”