35% of B.C. nurses considered quitting due to COVID-19 pressures: union survey

Amid rising cases of COVID-19 and lagging vaccination rates, Northern Health says Fort St. John Hospital is also facing a critical nurse staffing shortage in its ER. Kristen Robinson reports.

A new internal report has found 35 per cent of all B.C. nurses say the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made them more likely to leave the profession in the next two years.

The internal survey, conducted by the BC Nurses Union in May during the height of the third wave of the pandemic and released on Thursday also found more specifically the likelihood of wanting to quit went is even higher for nurses working in emergency and intensive care at 51 per cent.

Nurses were already chronically understaffed before the pandemic, the union’s report said, and the pressures in the workplace were only amplified when COVID-19 hit.

Of the nurses polled, 82 per cent said their mental health worsened during the pandemic and 65 per cent claim their physical health diminished.

On workloads, 76 per cent of nurses said they’d seen an increase compared to before the pandemic, while 68 per cent reported staffing had been inadequate before as well.

Read more:

‘Burnt out and pushed beyond their limits’: nurses struggle to work and care for own families

“This is heartbreaking,” union interim vice-president Danette Thomsen said in a news release.

“We are seeing these statistics play out in our health-care settings as staffing levels reach lows that are forcing some nurses, including those who have only just started their careers, to question how much longer they can commit to this fight.”


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