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As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, nurses across Vancouver Island and beyond are exhausted and feeling a mental and physical strain.

That’s according to the BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU), as it points to the Omicron wave and the toll it’s plaguing on those working in healthcare.

“It’s reached a point where many are telling us they just can’t do it anymore,” said BCNU President Aman Grewal.

In fact, 35 percent of BC nurses say their experiences with the pandemic make them more likely to leave the profession in the next two years.

And when it comes to those working specifically in Emergency Rooms or Intensive Care Units, the percentage of nurses ready to quit climbs to 51.

That’s the findings of a recent BCNU survey, which gathered responses from nearly 3,500 union members over two weeks.

“Our nurses are speaking out on behalf of their patients,” Grewal said.

“The service reductions we are seeing around the province are a direct result of not having enough staff, which is seriously impacting patient outcomes.”

Mix that in with record-breaking hospitalization numbers, and the BCNU says it’s renewing calls for immediate solutions for BC’s health system.

“On a daily basis, nurses are facing an unmanageable number of patients who need care, and despite all of their very best efforts, they’re watching their patients suffer,” Grewal said.

“As a result of this pressure, nurses are burnt out.”

Ahead of the upcoming provincial budget, the BC Nurses’ Union asks MLAs to act on behalf of their constituents and address several key challenges.

BCNU says it has sent letters to Health Minister Adrian Dix, Labour Minister Harry Bains and Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang.

It’s pleading with them to work together within their respective ministries to commit to solutions that address the nursing shortage in the province.

The union is also inviting nurses to come forward and share their experiences, urging them to contact BCNU’s media department at media@bcnu.org to set up an interview.

“By sharing stories and specific issues from their ridings, MLAs are hearing about the harsh reality faced by nurses and patients who reside and work in their constituency,” Grewal added.

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