Nursing agencies are staffing hospitals at ‘huge cost’ to health-care system, experts say – CBC

Spending on nurses employed through private companies escalating as burned-out staffers leave jobs

May 12, 2023

Burned-out nurses who’ve left Canada’s healthcare industry in droves are now returning to the job through private agencies, and that transition is costing the public system millions of dollars every year.

Nurses working for these temp agencies can earn more than double the wages of staff nurses doing the same jobs in the same hospitals, with full control over their work schedules, according to those in the industry.

Terri Stuart-McEwan, vice president of clinical programs and chief nursing executive at Oak Valley Health, which operates Markham Stouffville Hospital in Ontario, said she’s watched as a steady stream of nurses have quit their jobs out of fatigue and frustration.

“Last year we spent, in this organization, over $4 million [on agency nurses], and we are a medium-size organization,” she said. “That’s a huge cost to our health-care system.”

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