Applications for admission to CEGEP-level nursing programs in Quebec have declined over the last five years, according to regional and provincial admissions data.

In the Montreal area, applications for the nursing program dropped approximately 22 per cent between 2014 and 2018.

In Quebec, the numbers dipped 17 per cent in the last four years.

The numbers have raised alarm bells for the president of Quebec’s Order of Nurses. 

“We have to monitor what is going on if we don't want to be in trouble in the next few years,” said Lucie Tremblay. 

Forced overtime, stress and low morale have left many health professionals calling for change. 

“We need to change this image and we need to change how things are being done in hospital if we want to attract and keep the nurses working for the public,” Tremblay said. 

The President and CEO of the Federation of CEGEPs said there's a possibility that media coverage of burnout in health care workers may have contributed to the decline. However, no conclusive research has been done on the topic. 

According to Tremblay, enrollment for nursing programs in Universities has gone up, but not enough to offset the decrease in CEGEP applications.