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Travel Nurses Used By N.B. Health Authorities

By Tamara Steele Oct 25, 2022 | 1:26 PM

Nenad Stojkovic / CC

The Horizon and Vitalité health networks have used travel nurses to help cover staffing vacancies.

The move is costlier because travel nurses work through private agencies.

Margaret Melanson, interim president and CEO of Horizon Health, said they recruited a few travel nurses over the summer to help in emergency departments and critical care areas.

“We did feel given the requirements to maintain those services that it was an avenue we needed to pursue. Certainly, it is not something that we do lightly. It is not our choice in terms of how service is delivered,” Melanson said.

Health Minister Bruce Fitch agreed the costs are higher, but notes there is also a cost when an emergency room has to be closed.

“It’s an investment in the health care system here in the province of New Brunswick. It’s not forever. It’s not a large number. It’s needed right now to make sure the existing staff have the support in order to keep the facilities open,” Fitch said.

Minister Fitch said the RHAs are tasked with making sure the services are available and everyone knows there has been a shortage of registered nurses.

“Filling the gap with travel nurses is a tool that is used in order to make sure the health services are there. When you look at some of the closures that have occurred, it’s been largely due to a lack of staff including the RNs,” Fitch said.


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