Situation for registered nurses in province ‘dire’ according to Sask. Union

Saskatchewan nurses are ‘demoralized, exhausted, and losing confidence in provincial leadership.’

That is according to an annual survey of membership conducted by the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN)

Over 82 per cent of SUN members reported a permanent or temporary vacancy for registered nurses in their workplace, which is more than double the 39 per cent who indicated the same in 2021. 89 per cent say there is currently a shortage of registered nurses available to cover absences or to meet higher service demands.

With an already short-staffed workforce, almost three-in-five (57.4 per cent) say they’ve considered stepping away from registered nursing in the past 12 months.

SUN President Tracy Zambory said while the provincial budget may help with future staffing needs, they need help right now.

“While the provincial budget begins to tackle future staffing needs in Saskatchewan healthcare, it does very little to address the crisis we’re in right now,” she said. “Without immediate relief, more registered nurses are going to leave the profession. It feels like we’re trying to dig ourselves out of a hole without a shovel.”

According to the membership survey, Saskatchewan’s registered nurses have shouldered the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic and bear scars for their efforts.

Over 72 per cent of SUN members reported a greater concern with safety since the start of the pandemic, feelings of anxiety and helplessness (72.5 per cent), feelings of frustration or anger (77 per cent) and feelings of uncertainty and lack of confidence in leadership (76.2 per cent).

Registered nurses gave an overall negative rating to Premier Scott Moe, and the Ministry of Health received a negative performance rating from 68 per cent of respondents.

Zambory said that nurses are feeling unheard by the provincial government.

“Every time they work short-staffed, every time the waiting room is full beyond capacity, they’re reminded that the Government of Saskatchewan has stopped listening to their pleas for help.”

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