2009-2010 Portrait of the Nursing Workforce
CONSTANT GROWTH IN THE NURSING WORKFORCE AND IN NURSES' EDUCATION LEVEL
MONTREAL, Nov. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - With its Annual Convention just a few days away, the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ) has released its 2009-2010 portrait of the nursing workforce. The study shows that the workforce is continuing to grow, and has reached a new record of 71,371 members. This is up 1.1% from 2008-2009, in keeping with average growth over the past five years.
With regard to education, the proportion of nurses with university training in nursing or other disciplines now stands at 48%. A total of 30% of them hold a bachelor's degree in nursing science, also a new record. This means that the Order now has 21,719 members with bachelor's degrees, an increase of 18% since 2005-2006, the first year in which nurses graduated from the integrated DEC-BAC program.
"There are more and more nurses enrolled in university studies. This trend will encourage the development of new roles for nurses and help meet the needs of our healthcare system," said OIIQ President Gyslaine Desrosiers. "The DEC-BAC program has really pushed nurses to continue to university. It is an attractive program and must continue to be supported and encouraged. Education is essential, and must continue to be a priority for all of us," added the President.
At the same time, more and more nurses are taking continuing education courses. The data show that 78% of them said they had taken such courses in 2009, as compared with 63% in 2005. Nonetheless, one in five nurses said she had taken no courses. This is why the OIIQ intends to take more steps to promote this type of training.
An attractive profession for young people, but waves of retirements in sight
Since 2003, the Order has issued from 2,400 to 2,800 permits per year to new nurses - the largest number at any time in the past 25 years, confirming the attractiveness of the profession. The Order's promotional campaigns are clearly bearing fruit.
Another interesting observation relates to the retention of new nurses. On average, 90% of the nurses who joined the profession in the first half of the 2000s are still practising in Quebec after five years. These are excellent figures if we compare them with those for other provinces and other professions. For example, the retention rate among Ontario nurses after five years is 85%, and 78% among nursing assistants in Quebec.
There is a shadow on the horizon, however, and that is the huge number of impending retirements. More than 15,500 nurses are 55 or older, and so are possibly eligible for retirement. They account for 22% of the workforce, a proportion that has doubled over the past ten years. In addition, 10,800 nurses are now in the 50 to 54 group and will also soon be eligible for retirement.
"The wave of upcoming retirements is worrisome. That is why it is crucial that we in the Order continue to talk to decision makers about ways of improving working conditions and the need for incentives to encourage older nurses to continue working if they wish," maintained Ms. Desrosiers.
Changes in employment sectors
While the total number of nurses has been rising from year to year, the number of those working in the public healthcare system has remained the same. Nurses in the public system now account for 82% of all Quebec nurses, as compared with 87% in 2001-2002.
Across Quebec, 3,863 nurses report that they work for a placement agency - a 50% increase since 2005-2006. They represent 5.8% of all Quebec nurses. The statistic climbs to 12% among nurses living on the north shore of Montréal.
The nursing workforce has been growing in the majority of regions since 2005-2006. Most of the increase has been in the four regions surrounding Montreal and in Centre-du-Québec: from 8 to 14% depending on the region. On the other hand, there has been a decline in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions. These observations do not explain regional shortages, however, as they are the result of numerous factors.
For more details:
Rapport statistique sur l'effectif infirmier 2009-2010 - Le Québec et ses régions
Portrait de la relève infirmière 2009-2010
Portrait sommaire de l'effectif infirmier du Québec 2009-2010
Données régionales sur l'effectif infirmier du Québec 2009-2010
About the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ)
The OIIQ is a professional order governed by the Nurses Act (R.S.Q., c .I-8) and the Professional Code, R.S.Q., c. C-26). As at March 31, 2010, the Order had 71,371 members and about 15,000 student members. Its main mission is to ensure public protection by monitoring the practice of nursing. The OIIQ is also responsible for promoting quality nursing practice and contributing to maintaining nurses' competencies.
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The summary portrait of the nursing workforce and the table of regional data will be available at the press table during the 2010 OIIQ Convention, to be held on November 8 and 9 at the Palais des congrès in Montreal.
For further information:
Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec
Acting Press Attaché
Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec
Cell: 514 220-4979