Summer is well underway and with the sunshine and warmth comes a new feeling of hope – a light at the end of the very long, seemingly never-ending, COVID-19 pandemic tunnel. The past 16 months have been incredibly difficult for all frontline healthcare workers, but in particular, all of you, Saskatchewan’s more than 10,000 Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses, and Nurse Practitioners.
No corner of our health system was left unscathed, and every aspect of society and the way we live our lives changed in the blink of an eye when COVID-19 landed on the prairies. As the world around us was thrust into chaos, you did what registered nurses do best – you became the calm in the “eye of the storm”, the professionals patients, families, and the entire health system looked to for reassurance and expert care.
You stepped up when people in Saskatchewan needed you most, as you always do. You were fearless in the face of the unknown, too often at the expense of your own mental and physical health.
For this unwavering commitment, and sacrifice, you have all shown in the midst of a “hundred-year pandemic” the likes of which most of us will only live through once in our lifetime, Saskatchewan is eternally grateful.
Thank you. We could not have come this far without each and everyone one of you.
Now I know as some of you read this, you might be thinking to yourselves that I am being too positive about the end the pandemic, and that we are not quite there yet. You are correct – the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. I do, however, think that having hope is so important at this moment in time. It has been a long road and as registered nurses, it is this hope that will keep us going in the final stretch, and it is this hope that will fuel our resolve to remain the health leaders people will continue to look to for advice on how to safely return to normal life.
I also know that for many of you, your lived experiences throughout this pandemic are creating some apprehension about the big changes that happened on July 11, 2021, when the majority of restrictions were lifted, including mandatory masks.
I want to reassure you that SUN will remain vigilant and keep a watchful eye on cases, especially as new variants continue to remain a threat. We are at the ready to speak out and act on your and your patients’ behalf should things start to change for the worse. We will also continue to advocate for improvements in areas of care where we know chronic under-staffing remains an issue because we recognize that while things are slowing down for some, this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Many staffing issues predated the pandemic. In short, you can always count on your Union.
If COVID-19 has reminded us of anything, it is that nothing is more important than our health and our family and loved ones, and that taking care of ourselves and each other is above all else. SUN’s focus over the past few months has been to support members in finding ways to do just this through our Wellness Series, and while this is winding down for the summer, we will be returning with exciting new resources and programs in the fall.
In the interim, it is my sincere wish that all of you will be able to find some time for selfcare this glorious Saskatchewan summer – time to rest, rejuvenate, and do something that you love. Be kind to yourself, you have earned this. Finally, please remember that my door is always open to all of you. No matter your concern, I am here to listen.
Take care of yourselves this summer, and again, thank you for everything.
Tracy Zambory, RN
President, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses