Thursday, February 23, 2006
Nursing Shortage in Saskatchewan (this is news???)
Today, the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) released a statement to the media and Health Minister Len Taylor regarding a need to integrate 600 new registered nurses into Saskatchewan healthcare in the upcoming budget.
The memo lists the following concerns:
- Saskatchewan’s supply of Registered Nurses is shrinking, while all other provinces
(except Nova Scotia) are experiencing an increase in the RN workforce.
- Saskatchewan has the worst RN retention rate (66.8%) of all the provinces, with no
progress since 1997.
- Saskatchewan fails to set specific targets for retention and recruitment of RNs and RPNs
SUN is urging the government to commit and make some solid benchmarks in order to ensure the maintenance of safe patient care in Saskatchewan.
Though there has been mounting rhetoric about the pending ‘nursing shortage’, the focus on this human resources crisis has subsided lately with the preoccupation shifting to wait times. The release of this statement seems to signal that there need not be any waiting for the nursing shortage, it is upon us.
Saskatchewan needs to set some realistic goals pertaining to sustainable retention and recruitment. Debt reduction has been one attraction for nurses to stay in the province, but it seems that the province needs to get serious about competing for the nurses who so often flee to the United States and larger city centers. It may seem unpatriotic or even unprincipled that these new grads are leaving this country , but the United States offer nurses what they are worth- signing bonuses, moving expenses, assistance finding work for spouses. What’s more, is that nurses in the States seem to be less likely to face the problems of overwork that nurses in Saskatchewan will feel almost immediately after beginning work.
The profession of nursing has been working on overhauling their image to include a more professional persona and I think a commitment from the government may begin to highlight the importance of the nursing profession. This recognition would not only engage those within the profession as valuable members of the healthcare team, but show the citizens of Saskatchewan that their health is a priority.
Cross-posted at feminurse