VICTORIA, B.C- Island Health has made some new hires.

According to a news release issued by the health agency, 234 nursing graduates have been hired on to work across Vancouver Island. Last year, a total of 240 were brought on, with 233 staying on with Island Health as of 2018.

“We welcome the news that Island Health has been able to recruit and retain such a significant number of nursing graduates,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix, in the news release.

“Nurses are key members of our health-care teams and these new additions will help support patient care in a variety of areas. Congratulations to the new hires.”

According to the release, the majority of the new hires are registered nurses, with a small amount of registered psychiatric nurses.

“The nurses will work in various areas at Island Health hospitals, including medical/surgical floors, emergency departments, operating rooms and cardiac care units,” the release states.

“They will also work at residential care facilities and in community health services and programs.”

A personal testimony from Courtenay-raised recruit Megan Elgersma was included in the release. She’ll be working at the new hospital in the Comox Valley.

“As a nurse, I feel confident in my skills, I feel confident in what I’ve learned in school. But it’s totally different in the hospital,” says Elgersma, in the release.

“I know I’ll be supported, and I know that I can ask questions. So I’m really excited for that continued learning – that’s why I chose to go into nursing.”

Elgersma has an undergraduate degree in biology and a diploma in electro neurophysiology, after studying at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. According to her testimony, she’s eager to return home to the Island.

The majority of the grads who applied to Island Health studied at schools on Vancouver Island, with 20 graduates coming from North Island College.

16 of the nurses hired will be working at the Comox Valley campus, while 14 will be working in Campbell River. The jobs in the Valley and in Campbell River are all full-time contracts, for the next nine months.

114 will be working at Victoria-area hospitals, and 41 in Nanaimo. The rest have been placed in other Island communities, such as Duncan, Port Alberni, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, and Tofino.