Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 6(1) September 2002 : 79-84.doi:10.12927/hcq..16664
Nursing Issues

A Flexible Nursing Workforce: Realities and Fallouts

Doris Grinspun


While policy-makers are increasingly concerned about a looming nursing shortage, almost half of Canada's nursing workforce is currently employed on a part-time or casual basis. Why are so many nurses not working full-time and providing the nursing care that would help to alleviate such shortages in our healthcare organizations? Do nurses want to work part-time, or are they driven into this by labour market forces, life demands, poor working conditions and policy decisions external to them? The answers to these questions are critical to ensure that care will be there for all of us. This article presents a brief analysis of flexible employment arrangements in nursing, particularly part-time and casual work, and the impact on nurses, patients and the healthcare system as a whole. Given the sharp increases in these work arrangements in Canada during the last decade, the limited discussion of these trends in the literature is both surprising and troublesome.



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