The Province of Manitoba is announcing that nurses may be moved to other departments, facilities, or parts of Manitoba to help with the pandemic.

On Tuesday night, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed between the province and Manitoba Nurses Union. This MOA will permit healthcare employers to redeploy their nurses. This includes work assignments, work locations, schedules, shift patterns and/or hours of work.

“Today’s agreement supports our efforts to increase and stabilize the health-care workforce that is supporting the needs of patients and residents in these priority areas,” Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer of Shared Health says in a statement.

This response would include nurses working at personal care homes, intensive care units (ICUs) and designated COVID-19 units.

“Thousands of nurses working in personal care homes and hospitals across the province are making an enormous difference in our province’s fight against COVID-19,” Health Minister Cameron Friesen. “Our government’s top priority is ensuring patients and PCH residents are provided with the best possible care. Working with nurses, we are taking every possible step to meet the needs of Manitobans with COVID-19 in our PCHs and acute care facilities."

The minister says that the MOA will recognize the front-line nurses' "dedication, commitment and compassion at a critical time.”

This agreement will allow employers to decide and redeploy nurses to where the greatest needs in Manitoba are.

The MOA, in effect for the duration of the pandemic, is set to take each nurse’s training and skill level, as well as the region in which they work, into consideration before making any redeployments or reassignments.

When a nurse is redeployed, the province says they will be given the appropriate training and orientation to the new work environment and team. The province says necessary PPE will be given in each situation.

"Given the unprecedented circumstances we’re facing, we believe this MOA will support nursing recruitment and retention efforts in areas of significant need, and provide a clear process for redeployment that offers some security, certainty and recognition for affected nurses," Darlene Jackson, president of Manitoba Nurses Union says.

The province says there will be allowances for nurses who are affected by a disruption in their normal work schedule. This also extends to those redeployed to a personal care home, intensive care unit or designated COVID-19 unit, as well as the nurses working with redeployed and reassigned nurses.

Nurses working in units or facilities where an outbreak of COVID-19 is declared will be eligible for the allowance. 

This agreement will give nurses being redeployed north an allowance and travel reimbursement.

Current northern nurses who work in one community but pick up additional shifts at other facilities in the region are eligible for the allowance.