Hundreds of BC Nurses Rally at Government's Doorstep Demanding Action and Respect

May 10, 2022
Nurses say health-care crisis leading to breakdown in patient care

Enough is enough.

It's the sentiment being echoed by nurses from communities across the province today, who've gathered in Victoria to speak out against chronic shortfalls that are pushing BC's health-care system, and nurses, to the brink.

"The COVID-19 pandemic and toxic drug crisis have exacerbated a severe nurse shortage, and this has created working conditions that aren't respectful or safe," says BCNU President Aman Grewal. "There is no health care without nurses, yet their concerns continue to be overlooked by government and decision makers."

Today's rally comes as nurses across the country mark National Nursing Week. Normally, the week is an opportunity to celebrate and thank nurses across Canada for the invaluable care they provide to patients and their communities. However, given the state of health care in BC, this year the week is taking a more sombre tone.

"Nurses are fully dedicated to their patients, but the staffing shortages are at the point where nurses are burnt out as they take on extra responsibilities to ensure standards of care are met," says Grewal. "I fear that if action isn't taken to retain the nurses we have, we'll see many more making the difficult decision to quit."

BC's latest Labour Market Outlook states the province is set to need upwards of 26,000 nurses by 2031 to meet the needs of British Columbians. However, 51 per cent of nurses surveyed by BCNU last year said the experience of the pandemic had them considering leaving the profession altogether.

"So many nurses go to work every day wanting to provide safe patient care, but the health-care system is understaffed and overwhelmed," notes Grewal. "We are hopeful that today's calls for real action will be loud enough to reach the offices of those here at the Legislature."

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