Nursing Shortages and
the impact on Nursing Practice
are tired. Working overtime is normal, even expected. Wards are
crowded with patients waiting to be seen but often there is not enough staff
to meet their needs.
times throughout Saskatchewan's history, the province has experienced a shortage
of nurses. The current shortage is perhaps the most pressing as now,
more than ever before, nurses are receiving a Saskatchewan education but are
then leaving the province in pursuit of higher salaries.
SUN's Febuary 2006 correspondence to the province's Minister of Health outlines
their concerns about the nursing shortage:
shortages take their toll on those practising in the province. Some nurses
leave the profession because of excessive amounts of overtime work and others
leave because of the stress of having excessive nursing workload with little
or no support. In 1999, during job action taken by SUN, nurses took their
old and worn out shoes to the steps of the legislature to symbolize those who
had left either the province or the profession because of working conditions. Photo
link of shoes on steps.
Union of Nurses is concerned that Saskatchewan is currently suffering
a chronic and deepening shortage of RNs and RPNs, producing negative
consequences for safe patient care, positive patient outcomes, and public
access to needed services. This nursing shortage also has negative consequences
for the profession, damaging the province's ability to retain experienced
nurses, and attract new nurses to the profession and to the province.
Saskatchewan has the worst RN retention rate of all the provinces, with no
progress since 1997.
RN supply has declined by .5% since 2000, compared to a 5.7 % increase in
Manitoba, and a 6% increase in the Canadian RN workforce. Only Saskatchewan
and Nova Scotia suffered net decreases in the RN workforce from 2000-2004. 1
33.2% of RNs (both
new graduates and experienced nurses) who graduated in Saskatchewan have
moved to other provinces, primarily Alberta and British Columbia. Only
66.8% of graduates from Saskatchewan nursing programs who were employed
in Canada in 2004 were employed in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan has made
no progress in retention of Saskatchewan RNs since 1997, when the retention
rate was 67%. "
Workforce Trends of Registered Nurses
in Canada, 2004, CIHI 2005, pp 50.