The Nova Scotia Nursing Strategy has been successful in improving the recruitment, retention and work life of nurses across Nova Scotia. The Nursing Strategy is working, Health Minister Chris d’Entremont said today, May 8. Since the strategy was introduced in 2001 there are more nurses working in Nova Scotia. The Nursing Strategy has focused on four key areas to support registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and students. The four areas include: support for practising nurses through orientation, continuing education and the nursing grants program; support for student nurses through co-operative education and bursaries; enhanced recruitment strategies through job fairs, relocation allowances and the nursing re-entry program; workforce development through the practice environment collaboration program, aimed at improving work life issues for nurses. These key areas have been supported by the provincial nursing network. “Especially during this week, National Nursing Week (May 8-15), we realize the valuable contribution nurses make to our health-care system,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “Through the Nursing Strategy, we have succeeded in supporting, recruiting and retaining nurses across the province.” Since the strategy’s launch: To date, the Department of Health has invested more than $60 million in the Nursing Strategy and education related activities. “We have a strategy built for nurses, by nurses and we will continue to get their input as we move forward,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “Through the Nursing Strategy, we are helping to make Nova Scotia a place where nurses want to work.” The Nursing Strategy was developed by the provincial nursing network, a group made up of nurses, educators, and representatives of regulatory bodies, and union and nursing leaders that — with the province’s nursing policy advisor — to set a direction for nursing recruitment and retention. “The nursing strategy is definitely making a difference,” said Linda Hamilton, executive director of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia. “It has provided us with a focused and concerted approach to address key practice and professional issues in nursing.” there are 254 more registered nurses working in Nova Scotia 822 more nurses are employed in permanent versus casual positions Nova Scotia is retaining more than 80 per cent of its new graduates, about 90 per cent of whom have found full-time employment more than 270 student bursaries, each valued at $4,000, have been provided to fourth year nursing graduates more than 613 co-operative education seats have been made available, 100 of which were added to focus on focus on long-term care and rural areas there are 330 more nursing seats at St. Francis Xavier University, Cape Breton University and Dalhousie University, including the Yarmouth campus nursing grants have been provided for nurses to further their education about 490 relocation allowances were provided for nurses to come to Nova Scotia 242 financial awards have been provided through the nursing re-entry program to help nurses re-enter the profession a report recommending the development of the rural and remote nursing workforce has been completed. Recommendations will be dealt with this year.