Registered nurses are unique and so is our Union.
No matter the personal reasons why any of us chose to become registered nurses in the first place, there will always be a common thread that binds us. Our deep-rooted desire to improve the lives of our patients and to make a difference, is what makes our profession stand out.
The problem right now is that this commitment to our patients is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil. I often hear of registered nurses heading into their shifts with a sense of dread, knowing that they may be working short-staffed yet again, or even alone, and that this can put patients at risk.
Saskatchewan’s health system is broken, but it is repairable.
The thing is, when you ignore a problem, much like with our own mental and physical health, it does not just disappear. As registered nurses we understand the importance of early interventions to stave off the worst-case health scenarios. We recognize that a quick fix “band aid solution” sometimes only masks the real underlying issue and that finding the root cause is the only true path to healing. We are trained to dig deeper.
This is why registered nurses and SUN have been calling for a nursing taskforce. It’s time to do that digging for answers. It’s time for grassroots engagement. Registered nurses will be the first to say that recruiting new nurses into a broken system without supports in place will only end in continued staff turnover and persistent shortages. There can be no healing if we refuse to ask the difficult questions: what will help you stay, thrive, or return?
People often talk about the unique selflessness of registered nurses as expert caregivers and confidants. It’s why our profession is so trusted. This makes SUN, as the voice and Union for registered nurses, equally unique. SUN embodies the registered nursing promise to always put patients first. Unfortunately, this often gets missed in the political fray that inevitably plays out during times of crisis.
We have been watching a similar situation unfold with Saskatchewan’s teachers, who as a profession are equally dedicated to the betterment of society. Whether it’s advocating for manageable class sizes and improved learning conditions for Saskatchewan’s children, or a taskforce to tackle a dire nursing shortage that’s seriously impacting patient safety, it’s always the people we serve at the center. When those who are charged with the care of society’s most vulnerable can thrive, we all win.
This fall, it is my hope that registered nurses will finally be heard and that our calls for a collaborative and inclusive approach to solving one of the worst nursing crises our province has ever experienced will be answered.
The values and priorities of our members are forever embedded in SUN’s DNA, driving every action we take. We are Saskatchewan’s more than 10,000 dedicated Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and Nurse Practitioners, and our patients ALWAYS come first.
Tracy Zambory, RN