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Nursing students rally against hiring freeze

Many nursing students fear they’ll be jobless after graduation, despite what they say is a nursing shortage in Alberta.

Many nursing students fear they’ll be jobless after graduation, despite what they say is a nursing shortage in Alberta.

A group of University of Alberta nursing students met at the legislature Thursday to protest against Alberta Health Service’s freeze on hiring registered nurses. They say the quality of health care in Alberta will “continue to decline” as a result.

The students said the province poured money into education to meet an “overwhelming demand” for nurses, then over the summer AHS declared the shortage “resolved.”

They said AHS has adopted a strategy of restricted hiring and replacing RN’s with “less-educated” licensed practical nurses to cut costs.

Jennifer Hinz, a fourth-year student, said research articles have linked RNs to fewer health complications, shorter hospital stays and fewer readmissions — which reduces costs in the long run.

According to the students’ recent poll of 230 nursing students, 80 per cent said they would leave the province to find a job.

“Alberta is about to lose an entire graduating class, compounding an existing nursing shortage,” said student Quinn Grundy, who will graduate in December.

 
 
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