As N.L. nurses leave full-time jobs, province calls in costly private agencies – CBC

RNs Niki Parsons and Lauren Byrne describe overworked hospitals

Jul 28, 2022

Lauren Byrne’s daughter cried with joy the day her mom came home and announced she was no longer a full-time, permanent nurse in rural Newfoundland.

After 13 years dressing wounds, caring for patients, consoling families and missing out on her own life, Byrne decided to forgo her pension and permanent career.

Being a casual employee meant she could be home for Christmas and New Year’s. Go to birthday parties. And keep promises.

“It’s a lot of, you know, ‘I’m working tonight and tomorrow is the last day of school and I’m going to come home and we’ll take pictures,'” Byrne said in a recent interview.

“And then the next morning comes and there’s a sick call and there’s nobody to fill that spot.”

Nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador are leaving the profession at a rapid rate, with more than 600 current vacancies and another 900 nurses able to retire. Byrne and another registered nurse are speaking publicly on why they believe the current system is no longer working.

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