Premier Tim Houston Announces 180-Day Cap on Travel Nurse Contracts

Provincial release:

A change to how the Province employs travel nurses will help create more stability in healthcare and long-term care in Nova Scotia.

Premier Tim Houston announced this week that travel nurses working for Nova Scotia Health, IWK Health or a government-funded long-term care facility can only be hired for a maximum 180 days.

“Travel nurses have been a critical part of maintaining our healthcare system while we work to train and hire more nurses. But the associated costs are much higher and there is always the risk of them leaving, creating instability in the system,” said Premier Houston. “There will always be nurses who want to travel, but the change we are making today will encourage more to take on permanent positions where they are needed most. I’m calling on premiers across the country to consider doing the same.”

Effective December 15, the change applies to all government contracts for travel nurses. They must wait one year before they can be assigned to work as a travel nurse for these institutions again. They may choose to take a permanent assignment in Nova Scotia or continue to work as a travel nurse in another province.

Nurses graduating from post-secondary institutions in Nova Scotia cannot work as travel nurses in the province for one year following graduation.

There are many opportunities across the province to join the healthcare system in a permanent position. We welcome any travel nurse who would like to be part of creating long-term, lasting change in healthcare in Nova Scotia.Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness

Travel nurses have been an important part of providing long-term care as we worked to hire and train more people in the sector, but we have always been clear that it was never meant to be a permanent solution. We hope some travel nurses will consider taking permanent positions in the province.Barbara Adams, Minister of Seniors and Long-term Care

Quick Facts:

  • a travel nurse is any nurse who works in Nova Scotia under a government contract with a staffing agency, travel nurse agency or organization that supplies nurses on a contract basis
  • there are more than 350 travel nurses working Nova Scotia at any given time

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