Education Corner

BScN Students Explore Perceptions of the Nursing Shortage

March 25, 2022

Brittany Cull, Ethan Byrne, Sydney Sheppard and Terrin Russell are third year BScN students from the Centre for Nursing Studies (CNS). They recently completed a clinical placement at RNU for NURS 3500, Community Health: Practice Course. The focus of the placement was to assess their peers’ perceptions of nursing recruitment and retention in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In collaboration with RNU and CNS faculty, the students developed an interview guide that sought information such as the type of employment student nurses plan to pursue and their interest in long term care  The students identified four key informants within the third and fourth BScN classes and conducted a series of interviews.

Armed with their findings, the students created a resource that included a literature review of the nursing shortage and a summary of their own research findings. They also developed a survey that could be used by RNU to gather data from the student group in the future.

Overall findings from key informant interviews:

  • Students feel they need more information regarding incentives, pay rate, and how they differ by clinical area.
  • Students have experienced difficulty obtaining information regarding employment opportunities in the province.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and nursing shortage has negatively impacted their perspective of a career in nursing.
  • Students feel they have not been given adequate information on the RN role within long term care.

Health care environment:

“The environment can be very toxic because the nurses are so stressed.”

“The stress the pandemic has placed on the workplace is why I do not want to accept a permanent position…I recognize that I would not be able to take any time off or use annual leave.”

“I have become more wary of the profession and I am scared of becoming burnt out”

What the government and employers should know about the furture generation of RNs:

“They should know that my generation of nurses will advocate for ourselves no matter what.”

“We strongly believe nurses MUST be supported by their employer and union through mental health support.”

“They should know that if they started addressing the doctor and nursing shortage issue, maybe more students would consider staying in the province.”

Factors that influence employment decisions:

“Many of my peers have their minds set on a particular field and others really want casual positions”

“I would prefer a casual position to have a better work-life balance”

Students represent the next generation of registered nurses. To build a greater understanding of their career goals and expectations, student nurses will be included in the upcoming workforce research conducted by government. This project is anticipated to commence in the spring of 2022.

Thank you and best wishes to Brittany, Ethan, Sydney and Terrin!