Manitoba set to fast-track former nurses, graduates to front line

Health care reinforcements are on the way in Manitoba.

Provincial health minister Cameron Friesen announced the Manitoba government would change requirements for registered nurses (RNs) during an April 1 update, allowing former RNs and graduates to step into the COVID-19 fight quicker.

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“We know that now is the time to broadly solicit for help,” Friesen said. 

“I'm not just talking about former registered nurses, but also nurses who have returned from other jurisdictions to Manitoba as well.”

As part of the changes, the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (CRNM) will be waving fees with support from the provincial government.

Friesen said other provinces have had thousands of nurses volunteer to come back.

“[This announcement] isn't in reaction to an event itself or any other event,” Premier Brian Pallister said. 

“We've anticipated that, unfortunately, this was going to be an eventuality, as it has been in virtually every other jurisdiction where health care professionals on the front line occasionally are going to be exposed.”

At least three Manitoba health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

“It's not ideal to have nurses and other health care workers who are suddenly finding themselves facing a 14-day isolation order,” Friesen said. 

“I can tell you that it's a quickly evolving situation. We know that this issue has been faced in other Canadian jurisdictions and indeed around the globe.”

Friesen said additional plans would be announced later today to protect frontline health care workers from catching the virus.

For more information on the changed requirements, visit the CRNM website.

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