Dec. 15, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government is funding a new program offering a $10,000 incentive to nursing graduates who accept positions targeted as being hard to recruit.
Health Minister Mary Schryer and Marilyn Quinn, president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union (NBNU), released details today of the New Brunswick Forgivable Loan Program for New Graduate Nurses.
"Our government is committed to providing equal opportunity for access to quality health care for all New Brunswickers," said Schryer. "This innovative program is another tool at our disposal to ensure New Brunswick keeps a competitive edge to attract nursing graduates into hard-to-fill positions and to provide quality services to New Brunswickers."
The program has the objective of maintaining nursing graduates within the provincial health-care system, particularly in hard-to-recruit positions. It will extend 40 forgivable loans to graduate nurses in 2009-10.
"I believe that the Department of Health's decision to fund the forgivable loan is fundamental to retaining our new graduates," said Quinn. "It will help us alleviate the nursing shortage and improve access to programs and services in rural communities across New Brunswick."
The program will be available to nurses who graduated after March 3, 2009. It will also be available to nursing students in their fourth year of studies who accept positions identified by a joint nursing recruitment and retention partnership committee. This committee was formed as a result of the Part III collective agreement between the provincial government and the NBNU.
Targeted positions will be identified for forgivable loans, based on recruitment and retention needs of the two regional health authorities, including hard-to-recruit positions in rural areas and hard-to-recruit vacancies within urban areas. Candidates will be required to provide a two-year return of service agreement.
The Department of Health has budgeted $400,000 for the program in both 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Significant efforts to recruit and retain nurses since October 2006 have resulted in a net increase of 357 nurses being recruited to the province. In addition, there has been a net increase of 153 physicians.
MEDIA CONTACT: Hillary Casey, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3522.