On February 17, 2023, the Manitoba government announced a significant investment of over $123 million in nine initiatives aimed at retaining, recruiting, and supporting nurses. The announcement came amid scathing criticism of the health Minister Audrey Gordon and the government’s handling of the healthcare system in the wake of many nurses quitting the profession due to burnout and mandatory overtime. While the government’s initiatives are intended to incentivize nurses to stay in the industry, it may be too little, too late.
The Manitoba government’s investment in these initiatives is intended to build on its commitment to end mandated overtime and add 2,000 healthcare professionals through the Health Human Resource Action Plan. The initiatives will address some of the key issues faced by nurses in Manitoba and help to ensure that patients receive the high-quality care they deserve.
One of the most significant issues facing nurses in Manitoba is burnout due to mandatory overtime. In response, the government has introduced a new hourly premium for nurses who work on weekends, which will help reduce the need for mandatory overtime and ensure that nurses are compensated fairly for their work. Additionally, the government has introduced an annual payment for nurses who hold the equivalent of a full-time position, which will provide stability in the workforce and support nurses in their careers.
Another issue facing nurses in Manitoba is the cost of professional licensing fees. To help alleviate this burden, the government will reimburse the costs of nurses’ professional licensing fees. This will help reduce financial strain and make it easier for nurses to maintain their professional licenses.
To retain valuable expertise and build capacity in the workforce, the government has introduced an incentive for nurses who are eligible to retire but choose to remain in the workforce for up to an additional two years. This will help address the shortage of experienced nurses in the province and support the continued delivery of high-quality care to patients.
The government has also introduced a refer-a-nurse program for current nurses who refer a prospective nurse to a Manitoba employer, which will increase the pool of qualified nurses in the province and help to ensure that staffing needs are met.
To support nurse staffing needs across the province, the government has introduced a provincial float pool. This will ensure that nurses are available to work in all areas of the province, reducing the burden on individual healthcare facilities.
Incentivizing nurses to work in remote locations, the government has introduced a travel nurse incentive. This will provide an additional hourly premium for nurses who travel to work in remote locations, helping to ensure that staffing needs are met in all areas of the province.
Finally, the government has introduced a wellness incentive. This will add additional funds to the health spending accounts of full and part-time nurses to help cover the costs of eligible expenses, supporting nurses’ health and well-being.
While the government’s initiatives are undoubtedly well-intentioned, it remains to be seen whether they will be enough to address the significant challenges faced by nurses in Manitoba. . While the initiatives are intended to incentivize nurses to stay in the industry, it may not be enough to address the root causes of burnout and mandatory overtime. The government must continue to monitor the situation and take additional action to ensure that patients receive the care they need and deserve.