Region to receive 29 nursing jobs

Of the 1,600 new nursing positions opening up across the province, 300 are coming to Interior Health, 29 to East Kootenay, 16 to Cranbrook.

With 300 nursing positions coming to the Interior Health Authority, it looks like 16 will be coming to Cranbrook and 29 to the East Kootenay region, according to an IHA spokesperson.

“It is worth noting that these are the numbers as of today and they may change,” said Karl Hardt, a communications officer with IHA, in an email to the Daily Townsman. “We are reviewing the needs and vacancies regularly as we go through this process. Postings across Interior Health include a variety of nursing positions – in our facilities, either for general or specialty areas, or in the community.”

The jobs are part of a province-wide effort to create an additional 1,600 nursing positions by March 2016.

“Nurses are important, highly-skilled members of health care teams throughout British Columbia, and today’s announcement acknowledges their integral role in the health system,” said Health Minister Terry Lake, in a government press release. “Over the past year, we have been working closely with nurses to make health care improvements that benefit both patients and staff. We are confident this spirit of partnership will continue as we work together on a new collective agreement that meets the goals of nurses, health authorities and the Province.”

IHA’s allocation of the 1,600 positions is the second largest behind Fraser Health, which has been allocated 400 positions.

“To nurses who are trying to provide safe patient care while working short in ERs and operating rooms and nurses who cope with overwhelming workloads, this agreement means that relief is on the way,” said Gayle Duteil, president of the BCNU.

It remains to be seen how many of the 16 positions that Cranbrook is getting will to towards staffing at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.

The funding announcement follows an agreement between government, the BCNU and the Nurses Bargaining Association worth $5 million to provide specialty nurse training for positions such as emergency room, operating room, obstetric and neonatal nurses.