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Nurses flying North to cover shifts

Hospital has 14 job vacancies

Chris Puglia
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Oct 18/02) - Casual nursing staff from the South working in 10-day rotations have helped plug the gaps at Stanton Hospital.

Since July, approximately 10 casual nurses have been hired by the Stanton Territorial Health Authority to fill various positions.

NNSL Photo

Staff shortages

- Surgery: 1 management support, 2 clinical staff

- Obstetrics: 2.5 clinical staff

- Medicine: 1 clinical, 4.5 ICU

- Pediatrics: 1 management support

- Float/relief nursing staff: 4

- Total vacancy: 11.5 per cent

- Hiring effort: 2 offers accepted, six offers made, 2 interviews scheduled.

They are paid regular wage plus airfare to and from Yellowknife and accommodations while they are here.

At last count, there were 14 nursing shortages at the hospital spread out among intensive care, obstetrics, surgery/operating room and pediatrics.

The ICU has been closed since June because of nursing vacancies.

As a result, 23 patients were flown South between June 14 and Aug. 31. Another 65 patients were also medevaced South for specialized services not available at Stanton.

Job offers made

Hospital CEO Dennis Cleaver said three job offers have been made to nurses for the ICU and one offer is pending.

Two job offers have been made to fill positions in the obstetrics ward.

So far, three women have been sent South for treatment, one because of the staff shortage and two due to the closure of the ICU.

Stanton Hospital delivers approximately 600 to 650 babies every year.

The surgical unit is fully staffed, but three staff don't have enough experience to cover on-call shifts.

Two weeks ago there were 23 on-call shortages for the surgery unit.

Since then Cleaver said the positions have been filled by utilizing existing staff, casual labour and by flying in nurses from Southern jurisdictions.