The British Columbia Nurses Union (BCNU) is fighting to better the lives of health care professionals in the workplace.
BCNU VP Christine Sorensen has a list of things that issues to be addressed to improve access to health care for people across the north, first and foremost, attracting and keeping nurses in northern centres.
“There are certainly difficulties recruiting (and) retaining nurses in the north and there are shortages across the Northwest and we need to bring that awareness to the candidates who will be running in the in the next provincial election,” she says.
The BCNU is asking health authorities to provide housing and education allowances as a recruitment tactic. Sorensen says, in her experience, plenty of nurses are willing to move and start their new lives in the north but want permanent work and growth opportunities before making the move.
“We need to look at community nurse education and we need the government and Northern Health to meet the baseline staffing levels with nurses education and community nursing. Finally, our other issue of great importance is violence. The amount of violence that is going on within healthcare facilities across the province and certainly the north is no different there are there are violent episodes that occur in healthcare facilities across the North.”
Before the May 9th election, she hopes that northern candidates will sit down with BCNU spokespeople to make health care a priority. That way, whoever is elected can help implement changes and create new policies.
“We have health care facilities here running with inappropriate staffing levels not able to meet the needs of the patient, and not able to provide safe patient care. We’re really calling on the public to make their decision when they elect their candidate to represent them to make sure their candidate fully understands the needs around health care.”
Growing needs include improved outreach and community care for seniors, and more help addressing the opioid crisis.