Situation critical: the nursing shortage in Canada

by Stephanie Abba

December 23, 2004 - According to some recent features in the Canadian media, Canada is dangerously close to experiencing a shortage in nurses. A report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information revealed that in 2001 the average age of registered nurses was over 40 years of age in every province and territory. A report based on 2003 data revealed that one in three nurses is 50 years or older while only one in 10 is under 30 years of age.

Individual provinces, such as New Brunswick and Québec, had reports of looming nursing shortages and the approaching shortage in Saskatchewan was poised to become an election issue for the province in 2003.

In 2002, the Canadian Nurses Association considered it crucial to increase the number of new nurses in the workforce by upping the number of available positions in nurse-training programs. They warned that if this did not happen soon, Canada could have a serious nursing crisis. In response to the new data released in December 2004, the association said that although enrolments in nurse-training programs have increased, it is not enough to keep up with demand and counteract the cuts made to positions in nursing programs in the 1990s.

The nursing profession offers a wide range of options and specialties. Nurses may work in doctors' offices, hospitals, clinics, schools or factories, or may work in research in different areas. Nurses are working in urban and rural settings all across Canada. Nurses can specialize in many areas from geriatrics to pediatrics.

If the field of health care interests you, and you like the idea of taking care of people, educating them and helping them to get and stay healthy, nursing might be the career for you. There are many schools across Canada offering diplomas, certificates and degrees in nursing, including:

Brock University

Canadore College

College of the Rockies

Grant MacEwan College

McGill University

University College of the Cariboo

University of Toronto

University of Windsor

There are many other schools that offer other programs in nursing, so try doing an advanced search on this site for the details.

Modified on April 23, 2009