Is there still a demand for nurses in Canada?

  1. I'm a prospective nursing student, hoping to be admitted to a program this year! I always got the impression that there was a high demand for nurses all over Canada with vacant positions and an abundance of job selection. In my province, many foreign nurses have been brought in to alleviate nursing shortages in rural areas, at least in rural communities.

    As I've spent more time on AllNurses, I've been reading some posts about nurses having trouble getting jobs and that the demand for nurses may not be so high anymore (The NEED for nurses may still be there, but due to budget restraints, the jobs aren't available).
    How accurate is that, and what are the overall job prospects for new nurses throughout Canada? I thought I was going into a career that would give me more job stability than my previous degree, but now I'm worried that I may struggle just as much with getting a nursing job if I do get a nursing degree.
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    Joined: Jan '14; Posts: 70; Likes: 16


  3. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    The big foreign nurse recruitment push was several years ago already. It peaked in 2009 and since then things have drastically changed. Health care budgets are so fluid - which is not the way to provide high-quality, easily-accessed care - and are subject to great pressure from many directions. When a hospital or system is told to reduce their budgets by 10% OR ELSE, it's easiest to just make cuts to human resources. Eliminate 10% of your employees, spread their workload around to the ones remaining and carry on. That's how we've arrived at the extremely difficult workloads we currently face... death by a dozen cuts of 10%. Then there's the continuing tinkering with "staff mix". By removing a few of the highest paid people and replacing them with the lowest paid people, (but significantly increasing the responsibility of those highest paid people) you can decrease your budget but make it look like you're preserving jobs. Quality of care and access might suffer but look! We're coming in on budget!! I've seen these patterns reproduced 3 times in my 20 year career so far. In the end the strategies fail and there's a flurry of hiring again. There's no way to predict how long this current trend will continue. If you're interested in nursing because you're interested in being a nurse you'll find a way to build a career after graduation, even if it means working in your current profession and casually as a nurse. If you're interested in nursing because you're interested in job stability​ I would say try something else.
  4. by   eela2
    As an RN in Alberta, I can agree with janfrn on that - nursing appears to run in 10 year cycles of boom and bust. In 2007 I remember the widespread hiring spree only to be followed with the economic downturn of '08 and a hiring freeze.. Things again started to turn better in '11/'12 until our oil revenues dropped. Now we have some 300 some positions open, I can't speak for how easy it is to be hired, however.

    My advice would be to keep an open mind, even if it means taking on a casual or float position to get your 'foot in' - rural places do tend to be easier for hire as the majority wishes to work in the cities. With Alberta health, once you are in the system, you can apply to anywhere within the province as our health system is now 'one.'

    Hope this helps, and best of luck wherever you are applying!
  5. by   joanna73
    Agreed. There is no nursing shortage. Well....that's not exactly true because we're all working short, but that's on purpose due to budget cuts.

    There is a need for staff in rural and remote areas, ER, OR, ICU, and advanced practise nurses. No one is actively recruiting anymore, and it's not likely to improve for years.

    Job stability does not exist in any profession anymore, especially when the government can dictate working conditions.
    Last edit by joanna73 on Feb 13, '14
  6. by   Fiona59
    But it's just not that easy to get into AHS. Then once you are in, it's not that easy to move.

    I've applied for ten positions as an internal applicant an don't have enough seniority or the job has been cancelled.
  7. by   joanna73
    Last week, my coworker told me that she was about to apply for positions at RAH, but apparently 8 or 9 were posted and cancelled within the same week or so. And seniority is the other issue. Positions are granted on seniority, not merit.

    People keep asking the same questions. Unfortunately, what you're hearing about nursing and the lack of jobs is true.
  8. by   Trishrpn80
    And this is why my butt is firmly planted here until I can get to my dream job in NT lol

    I got a job in Camrose AB back in 2011 but i chose to do some northern nursing.

    And for all those that say hey if rural is hiring then lets go please be prepared and do research. This isn't for everyone and you aren't making millions of money. You think the metropolis is short staffed just go rural where the turnover rate is 40-60% because people don't do research. It affects not only the patiets but fellow nurses who stay because you couldn't cut it and didnt learn that there is no Walmart
  9. by   joanna73
    Rural isn't for everyonen but if it means unemployment or rural, then IMO, you make it work. I've seen at least 9 people come and go within a 3 year period, and very long periods without staff. It can be rough because there is nothing to do. I worked a lot and kept getting certifications.

    The alternative is working casual hours, but it can be very hard to build a career this way, since many employers would rather not call in staff.
  10. by   Trishrpn80
    There is also a big difference between rural, remote, and northern nursing.

    Its notnfor everyone but its also doable if you jus keep your head in the game
  11. by   Trishrpn80
    Quote from joanna73
    I've seen at least 9 people come and go within a 3 year period
    I remember seeing 6 gone in a month. I was like *** is goin on? I have seen over 20 at least in the last 2 yrs.. #1 reason : i didn't know what i was getting into
  12. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    We've been orienting RNs 8-10 at a time, every other month for the last two years. We've basically turned over 3/4 of our staff of 118. There are people working independently (off orientation) who I've never even met. We've also had 3 patient care managers, 8 CNEs and 6 different unit managers in about 2 1/2 years. Urban critical care. It's just crazy.
  13. by   Trishrpn80
    Jan sounds about as bad as us.. We don't get 8-10 RNs applying at the same time though. Right now with increased acquity and decreased suport for nursing staff we are going to see high turnovers and burn out.
  14. by   joanna73
    Based on all of this, I'm fairly certain that I'm going back to school for a Masters. I can eventually teach or find a research job. Burning out is just not worth it. We all need some quality of life.