Monday, 2 Oct 2023

Doctors, nurses coming out of retirement to help New Brunswick and Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 response

Physicians and nurses in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick are coming out of retirement to help with the response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons says it’s set up a process that is “faster than a fast-track” for recently retired physicians wishing to step up and work on an emergency basis.

“Physicians as a whole are people that want to help, and there have been certainly more than a few phone calls and expressions of interest from the retired physician community to see if and how they might help out in the pandemic response,” said the college’s registrar and CEO, Dr. Gus Grant.

Grant estimates that about 150 physicians have retired in the last several years, although it’s not clear how many would be able to practice or are still in the province.

Those who have retired the last two-and-a-half years are considered to have current skills and may be able to practice medicine under the direction of the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the IWK.

For those who have been retired longer, the college is exploring other ways they may be able to use their skills. Licensing fees are being waived.

“These are somewhat extraordinary times and we are doing everything we can to reduce and eliminate any administrative burden for physicians who wish to help out,” Grant said.

The college has also posted a message to physicians on its website, saying that provincial colleges across the country have reached a consensus to allow doctors who are not in their home province to be licensed there.

“Physicians from other provinces wishing to support our local response can be licensed on an emergent basis immediately,” the message says.

One retired Nova Scotia nurse has already completed their licensing, and 14 others have asked about the process.

In a press release, the Nova Scotia College of Nurses says it has also developed a rapid online licensing process for those who wish to return to practice for up to four months, and can enable nurses who are registered and licensed in other provinces to work in Nova Scotia.

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