The growing nursing shortage threatens to affect the quality of care in Nova Scotia. A lack of professional development opportunities, the difficulties nurses face transitioning into the workforce, and the absence of effective mechanisms to help nurses find jobs are recognized as major obstacles to the retention and recruitment of nurses.
The Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union (NSNU), the Nova Scotia Department of Health, the district health authorities (DHAs), nursing schools and other organizations partnered to address these issues, building on current initiatives in the province. The resulting project focused on three areas:
- Development of a centralized service to identify individual employment preferences employee/employer needs and orientation requirements
- Implementation of an 80/20 staffing model as per the NSNU collective agreement
- A mentorship program to support the transition of new graduates into the workplace
The 80/20 model allows nurses to spend 80% of their time in direct patient care and 20% in professional development activities. The professional development time was used to support the mentorship program by providing training for mentors, workshops for mentors and mentees, and time for mentors and mentees to meet.