It was a good news day: Health Minister Adrian Dix this week announced funding to almost DOUBLE the nurse-training spots at BCIT.
During my stay at St. Paul’s Hospital cardiac ward in 2018, I saw first-hand what terrific work the nursing staff does: patients understandably get more day-to-day(and overnight too!) supportive care from nurses than they do from doctors.
MUCH appreciated! 🙂
Now, the BC government will increase BCIT’s funding to add another 611 specialty nurse training seats … bringing the total enrolled, at that institution alone, to 1,000 new nurses.
But there is a problem governments (provincial and federal) need to address.
Each Spring, across Canada, as new classes of nurses (and doctors and other health professionals) graduate … recruiters, mostly from the United States, move in … sometimes right on campus … to hire them away.
The American recruiters … many representing profit-driven hospitals, clinics and other private health facilities … often offer higher salaries and even signing bonuses to lure away nurses, doctors etc. WE paid to educate.
When BILLIONS of dollars (US dollars!) from a much larger and profit-driven health care system are involved, it’s very hard for our smaller, publicly-funded health care authorities to compete.
Of course, many Canadians would argue WE do, however, offer a safer, saner, even more civil and civilized society in which to live, thrive and also raise a family.
But the lure of BIG BUCKS, when facing high student debt and higher living costs … higher taxes too … leads many BC and Canadian-trained nurses and other health care workers to succumb to American recruitment.
I don’t believe we can … or should … prevent them from going. That would violate their civil rights.
However, surely it’s not too much to ask … or legislate … that professionals educated, trained and graduated in our highly publicly-subsidized Colleges and Universities be expected to REPAY their full debt to our society if they leave.
And that goes well beyond just their student debt … which, although sizable, still accounts for only a small portion of the actual cost borne by the taxpayers to support/educate highly skilled professionals through the post-secondary level … and well beyond.
College and University level aspiring professionals should have to sign Contracts with institution-funding governments when they enrol: if they stay and practice their skills for, say, five or 10 years, in Canada, their SOCIAL DEBT to society is retired.
However, if they immediately leave to practice/work elsewhere, then they must REPAY their SOCIAL DEBT over the same period, five or 10 years, to help FUND other students here to replace them.
Taking advantage of BC or Canada’s subsidized institutions of higher learning … and then immediately heading south to cash in … is a ripoff of Canada and all our taxpayers.
Time for provincial and federal authorities to face up to that challenge … and protect our advanced education investments from being ripped off by US recruiters.
(Reminder: Get First Alerts to all postings on this BC-based Blog by following me, @harveyoberfeld on Twitter.)