Nursing shortage prompts creative efforts to fill nursing jobs

Plentiful nursing jobs in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan are soon going to be filled by unlikely candidates if local health care professionals get their way. In March, a delegation of health care professionals and hospital administrators are traveling to the Philippines in hopes of recruiting up to 300 nurses to fill the gap in local nursing jobs and to relieve the nurses who are currently working many hours of overtime.

Saskatchewan, like much of North America, is facing a huge nursing shortage. The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses estimates that there are between 800 and 1,000 open nursing jobs in the province. And the problem is only going to get worse, with more than 1,400 practicing nurses eligible for retirement in 2010.

The Philippines is an attractive destination for recruiting nurses because it trains more nurses than it needs. According to James Winkel, the spokesperson for the Saskatoon Health Region, the province would not be “poaching” nurses to fill their nursing jobs, since there are over 400 nursing schools there. “They have a huge surplus of nurses graduating and not enough openings,” Winkel said. “There’s just too many nursing grads.” Despite the frigid temperatures in Saskatchewan, finding Filipino recruits to fill open nursing jobs is relatively easy since the pay is substantially higher. Nursing jobs in the Philippines only pay between $125 and $150 per month.

All candidates are required to take an English test, and officials will check their credentials to ensure that they meet all the requirements of the specific nursing jobs they are being recruited for.

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