As per the president of the Canadian Nurses Association, Tim Guest, Ontario’s request for other provinces to send extra nurses is “likely” to go unanswered. “Some patients are so sick that they need two or three nurses to care for them”, He claims. While Newfoundland and Labrador have publicly agreed to assist, but the Atlantic provinces are in a difficult situation. According to Guest, Alberta and Saskatchewan have stated that they are unable to provide backup to Ontario hospitals.
He adds that the government estimates that Ontario will have a staffing gap of around 4,145 nurses in the next four months. There have been a number of vacancies in critical care, emergency departments, rural and remote areas of Canada for the past decade, according to Guest. He claims that a failure to adequately plan and staff for baby boomers in need of care has exacerbated the problem. He demanded that regulations prohibiting nurses from moving between provinces be repealed or relaxed.
Employers and unions, according to Guest, must look into the barriers that prevent nurses with critical-care experience from participating in the pandemic. More nurses are desperately needed in Ontario, but according to Guest, they are in short supply nationwide. Nurses from other units, as well as nursing students, have been redeployed to help staff overburdened ICU units, as per hospital administrators. “If nurses have critical-care skills, there needs to be a stronger incentive to come out of retirement,” Guest stated.