Quebec is launching an intensive recruitment effort for nursing assistants and administrative officers in clinical services in the hope of repeating the successes obtained in recruiting patient attendants.
The Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, and his colleague from Education, Jean-François Roberge, announced on Wednesday the creation of scholarships and the implementation of accelerated training programs whose objective is to attract 3,000 administrative agents and 2000 auxiliary nurses.
“To make the changes in health – a change in culture, all you need to do – one of the biggest stones, one of the biggest important pieces, is the workforce,” argued Minister Dubé.
“With the workforce, there will be more people, to have a work environment that is better for everyone who is there. “
Scholarships up to $ 20,000
The scholarships are important: people who register for administrative agent training will receive a scholarship of $ 4000 while candidates for nursing assistant training will receive a scholarship of $ 20,000. In the first case, registered students will have to commit to working for at least one year. For the latter, it will be two years of engagement. The total amount of the scholarships represents an investment of $ 14 million for administrative officers and $ 48 million for nursing assistants.
Minister Dubé specified that the $ 20,000 scholarships will be paid out in three installments, at the start of training, midway through and upon graduation.
The administrative officers in support of the clinical sectors will have the mission of assuming the administrative tasks of nurses, tasks which occupy too large a portion of their time, according to Minister Dubé. They can then be freed up to allow more time for patient care.
Administrative agent training, which usually represents 400 hours, will be reduced to 240 hours, or about two months, so that Quebec plans to gradually integrate them into the health network by next summer.
The Quebec plan provides for the hiring of some 300 agents for emergencies, 600 for CHSLDs and home support, 800 for the mental health and youth sectors and 1300 in other hospital missions, as needed.
Licensed practical nurses: no shortcuts
For nursing assistants, accelerated training will begin next January. The requirement of 1,800 hours of training is unchanged, but rather than being obtained in 22 months, the vocational studies diploma will be completed in 14 months and Quebec expects to have this cohort in place in the network in March. 2023.
“We are reducing the number of months, but the number of hours will be concentrated,” said Minister Roberge. They will not have fewer hours of training in the case of nursing assistants, but we concentrate in fewer weeks, in fewer months. “
These accelerated training programs and the related scholarships will be offered in all regions of Quebec.
Negative union reaction
The Interprofessional Health Federation of Quebec (FIQ) reacts rather badly to this announcement.
The union, which represents the majority of nursing assistants, accuses Minister Dubé of acting “alone and in isolation”.
In a press release published following the announcement, the FIQ considers that by not consulting the unions, the Minister “is depriving himself of an essential vision of the reality on the ground and of proposals for definitively settling the problem. exodus and depletion of the health workforce. […] In doing so, he avoids addressing the crucial issue of poor working conditions and the lack of valuation and recognition of the nursing assistant profession in the care teams. “
The interim president of the plant, Nathalie Lévesque, recognizes all the same that “we cannot be against the will of the government to train 2000 nursing assistants to come and lend a hand in the failed network”, but she adds that the problem will remain unresolved “if we are not able to offer them the ability to fully exercise their field of practice”.