News release

Healthcare Students and Instructors to Support Long-term Care and Acute-Care Sectors

Post-secondary leaders, healthcare students and instructors are stepping up to support long-term care and acute-care patients and residents.

Long-term care and acute-care settings are experiencing staff shortages because of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus and ongoing vacancies. In response, a request was made to post-secondary leaders and nursing, continuing care assistant and licenced practical nurse students and their instructors at Dalhousie University, St. Francis Xavier University, Cape Breton University, Université Sainte-Anne and the Nova Scotia Community College to support long-term care and acute-care facilities over the next month.

“I could not be more proud of how quickly we were able to come together with the post-secondary sector and students to come up with solutions to help Nova Scotians,” said Brian Wong, Minister of Advanced Education. “I want to thank the post-secondary leaders, administrators, staff and students for their collaboration, flexibility and willingness to adapt their traditional program delivery and partner with us on this effort. This is an exceptional chance for students to build skills, make workforce connections and help their fellow healthcare colleagues while helping the Nova Scotians who need them the most.”

For most of the students, these placements will be expedited clinical placements as part of their program of study. Placements that were already confirmed for students in acute-care programs will proceed as planned.

For others who have already completed their clinical placements, it will be a short-term employment opportunity. Students will be fully supported and observed on-site by their instructors and other supervisors who have also agreed to be a part of this effort.

Students who accept a placement and are not already being compensated through a co-op or other type of paid placement will receive a $1,000 honorarium.

This will not significantly increase students’ workload beyond current course requirements, and it will support their educational outcomes. Key program milestones, like graduation, will remain on track.

“This is an urgent situation. Students and their instructors have the chance to be part of an historic solution that will help long-term care residents, workers and their families,” said Barbara Adams, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care. “I am personally grateful they are taking on this challenge. They represent what it truly means to be a compassionate Nova Scotian, and I hope they inspire other healthcare workers not currently in the workforce to follow in their footsteps and help us through this difficult time.”

Health Association Nova Scotia, the post-secondary sector, Nova Scotia Health and the Province are working collaboratively on the logistics to determine where the help is needed most and what skills and experience are required.


The level of collaboration and partnership that is occurring to respond to the staffing shortages arising from the Omicron variant and ongoing vacancies is unbelievable. The accelerated placement of students in long-term care facilities will help provide much-needed relief and support for the dedicated staff who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic and ensure residents continue to receive the quality care and comfort they deserve. Mary Lee, President and CEO, Health Association Nova Scotia

Our practical nursing and continuing care assistant program students are training to be caring health professionals. As we bring this important opportunity to them, I anticipate many will step forward to help care for these important yet vulnerable citizens in our communities as we continue to face the pandemic challenges together. Don Bureaux, President, Nova Scotia Community College

Quick Facts:

  • up to 1,500 students and their instructors could be eligible to participate
  • as of today, January 28, 26 long-term care facilities are closed to admissions due to the workforce shortage
  • there are currently 1,913 people on the long-term care waitlist with 312 waiting in hospital