Alberta Registered Nurses Respond to CIHI Report

EDMONTON, Oct. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - The report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Regulated Nursing Workforce: 2012, emphasizes the need for Alberta to increase the number of students in registered nursing education programs and to encourage registered nurses (RNs) to stay in the workforce, according to the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA).

"In Alberta, we are not only facing the challenges of an aging nursing workforce but the increased health-care demands of a growing population," says CARNA President Shannon Spenceley. "In 2012 alone, more than 28,000 people moved to Alberta which is like adding a city the size of Grande Prairie in just one year. As the report shows, the percentage of registered nurses under age 30 increased slightly from 13.7 per cent in 2008 to 14 per cent in 2012, but the percentage of the registered nurse workforce over age 60, and likely to exit the workforce soon, grew even faster from 10.7 per cent to 12.3 per cent.  It is extremely important to continue to invest in educating new registered nurses who can provide the expert nursing care our growing province needs."

The report's figures for Alberta show that the proportion of RNs with less than 10 years of experience has grown significantly from 28.8 per cent in 2008 to nearly 35 per cent in 2012. The national average is just under 30 per cent.  At the other end of the spectrum, nearly 25 per cent of the province's registered nurses have 31 or more years of experience and are likely considering retirement. Alberta also has the third largest percentage of internationally educated nurses in the workforce (10.5 per cent) behind Ontario (11.5 per cent) and B.C. (11.8 per cent).

"Research shows that higher numbers of registered nurses at the bedside improve patient care. Alberta is currently at risk of losing the leadership and experience of registered nurses in direct patient care to mentor new graduates and internationally educated nurses. Alberta not only needs to educate more new registered nurses to offset imminent retirements, we need to find ways that will encourage experienced registered nurses to stay a few more years to maintain the quality of direct patient care."

CARNA is the professional and regulatory body for Alberta's 35,000 registered nurses, including nurses in direct care, education, research and administration as well as nurse practitioners. Its mandate is to protect the public by ensuring that Albertans receive effective, safe and ethical care by registered nurses.

SOURCE College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

For further information:

Rachel Champagne
Manager, Communications
College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
phone: 780.453.0516
cell: 780.953.3923
rchampagne@nurses.ab.ca
@AlbertaRNs