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In a joint investigation with Six Mountains, CHEK Information has realized that 4 nurses on Vancouver Island are among the many highest-paid staff in Island Well being.

The nurses, whose names CHEK Information has determined to maintain confidential, took dwelling greater than $300,000 in 2022/23. One made solely $9,000 lower than the CEO of the well being authority.

BC Nurses Union (BCNU) and the province say these nurses are outliers who must work large quantities of time beyond regulation to just about double their base salaries.

“There’s just a few that make over $150,000, and it’s normally as a result of they’re working on a regular basis,” B.C.’s Well being Minister Adrian Dix advised CHEK Information.

Proper now, the bottom wage for a registered nurse in B.C. ranges from $6,500 to simply below $11,500 a month, equivalent to $140,000 a year or less. However time beyond regulation is tipping the scales.

“The system is reliant on it. Many nurses are required to work time beyond regulation to fulfill the calls for of care,” stated Andriane Gear, president of BCNU.

In Island Well being, the quantity of time beyond regulation health-care suppliers work has solely elevated for the reason that pandemic. Between 2019 and 2020, Island Health’s target overtime rate was 3.9 per cent of hours labored, however they have been really hitting 4.87 per cent.

Three years later, in 2023, the extent of time beyond regulation that’s thought of acceptable has not solely elevated to six.9 per cent, however actual overtime has nearly doubled to 7.97 per cent.

A health-care system reliant on time beyond regulation

Island Well being says it paid a complete of $21.5 million in time beyond regulation premiums to registered nurses in 2022/23, and the story of well being authorities more and more counting on time beyond regulation is enjoying out throughout the province.

Extra time metrics throughout B.C.

  • Island Well being
  • Vancouver Coastal Well being
  • Fraser Well being
  • Inside Well being
  • Northern Well being

Yr over 12 months, time beyond regulation charges have been growing, and together with it’s the provincial threshold of what time beyond regulation stage is suitable, whatever the dangers.

“Whenever you’re required to work greater than 12 hours, the speed of harm price to nurses, but additionally the potential for med errors or different incidents at work, goes up exponentially,” stated Gear.

“Pilots can solely fly for thus lengthy, they’re required to take so many hours off between flights. In different transport industries like trucking there are safeguards to guard the employee, but additionally defend the general public.”

In nursing throughout Canada, there are no current rules or regulations limiting nurses’ hours of work.

Nurse-patient-ratios might make time beyond regulation skyrocket

On Friday, March 1, the province announced new nurse-to-patient ratios, designed to lower occupational accidents and burnout amongst nurses whereas bettering affected person care. However that motion, given the present approximate 5,000 nurse deficit in B.C., would possibly make time beyond regulation even worse.

“With any change, after all, there’s rising pains,” stated Gear.

Gear says she’s been pushing to implement ratios for 20 years at BCNU, and says altering the working situations of nurses will assist full the vacancies in the long term.

“I hope the ratios sign to different jurisdictions and can precise assist in recruitment. Our present collective settlement pays higher than different provinces, and I really feel that ratios will really create extra of a wish to work in B.C.,” stated Gear.

There’s no timeline for when the ratios will probably be put in place. Gear says it’s nonetheless a methods off, however they supply optimism for the longer term. In Australia, nurse-to-patient ratios took years to be fully implemented.

“The true points on the Island is getting extra nurses,” Dix advised CHEK Information.

The province says it’s engaged on it, with $237 million getting used to recruit and retain nurses, together with about $68 million on coaching and licensing internationally educated nurses. All with the aim of accelerating nurse numbers, bettering affected person ratios, and hopefully slicing again on time beyond regulation.

With information from Larry Pynn of www.sixmountains.ca

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