Port Clements nurse-practitioner Jonna Mattiesing is retiring at the end of the year, and the Northern Health Authority has not yet decided whether it will replace her.
“We’re still looking at what our steps will be,” said Sue Beckermann, health services administrator for Prince Rupert and the islands. “There’s a million possibilities out there.”
The health authority will decide within the next month whether it will hire a replacement nurse or not, she said.
However, even if it does decide to hire a new nurse, it’s “doubtful” that someone will be working in the clinic by Jan. 1, she admitted.
“Nursing recruitment is truly a challenge these days,” she said.
Port Clements is already served by a public health nurse working out of Masset, and that service will continue, Ms Beckermann said.
Ms Mattiesing told Port Clements village council Tuesday night (Nov. 2) that she is extremely concerned about the future of the clinic.
“As of Jan. 1 there will be no nurse in the clinic here,” she said. “Do you want your clinic to go fffttt?”
Council voted to write to the Northern Health Authority, asking what its plans are for the Port clinic and requesting that Ms Mattiesing continue working until a replacement is hired. The letter will also ask the health authority to put a local person on the hiring committee.
Meanwhile, Ms Mattiesing, who has worked at the Port clinic for 14 years, said she wants to continue to live in Port after she retires and is looking forward to volunteering at the school and becoming a Canadian citizen.
“I can swear for an hour in French without repeating myself,” she said, after mayor Dale Lore jokingly told her she would have to swear in both official languages to meet citizenship requirements.
Mr. Lore, who was criticized last month for swearing during a radio interview, laughed and then suggested that she call the CBC and offer to do just that.
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