Vol. 5 No. 2 (2023): Why are we Leaving?: The Crisis and Crumbling of Nursing Workforces

The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse is pleased to announce a special issue on exploring the crisis in the nursing workforce, asking the rhetorical question, “Why are we leaving?” Intended to foster scholarship that explores and interrogates the crises within the nursing workforce, and the myriad reasons behind it, this special issue builds from the growing discourse about the crisis in the nursing workforce in Canada and internationally.

In 2020, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions surveyed 7153 nursing professionals discovering a higher than typical plan of respondents to leave their position. The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario’s 2021 Work and Wellbeing Survey heard from over 2000 nurses, discovering that close to 1/20 nurses reported that they were going to leave the profession after the Covid-19 pandemic. At the start of 2022, a panel of nursing leaders collaborated to consider Canada’s post-pandemic nursing workforce, with the recognition that while nurses have assisted in aiding Canadians during this time, it came at a cost, especially due to care management approaches steeped in corporate mindsets that undervalue nursing’s contributions. Observations also highlighted how nurses have been poorly treated and neglected, contributing to the crisis and crumbling of our nursing workforce. A call to stop viewing and treating nurses as commodities is not new, but it underscores this important policy brief.  Each contributor was asked to provide an opening reflection, with many observations informing this call for papers. Take for instance Dr. Kathleen MacMillan who stated: “The pre-existing stressors on nurses and other health care professionals were made worse by the pandemic because the system failed to listen… and apply the evidence available to create more humane and satisfying work environments.”

The editorial board of Witness, Canada’s critical nursing discourse journal, wants to provide yet another venue where nurses will be listened to. Why are we leaving? How can critical social science lenses and analyses further illuminate what is behind the crumble, the crisis, and the exodus of nurses?

Published: 2023-12-27