The President of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses hopes everyone will thank a nurse this week for National Nurses Week.

Tracy Zambory says with the lack of healthcare workers in the province, the workplace can be quite chaotic. She estimates the health system is about a thousand full-time equivalent jobs short right now and says when you are so busy, it can affect safe patient care, which leads to moral injury and burnout, with some nurses mid to late career deciding to quit.

Zombory believes efforts to retain experienced nurses through an incentive program should be a part of the government and the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s plan to hire, train and retain more workers because, without them, there is less opportunity for mentorship for the newer nurses. That’s why Zambory would also like to see a paid mentorship program. She adds that graduates should get full-time work instead of having to start part-time, which she says is what happens in the larger cities.

SUN’s president also advocates for a nursing task force to be at the table when decisions are being made. Zambory says, “Registered nurses have the ideas. We have the innovations. We need to be listened to and partners in how health care works because we deliver the service. We are the workers. We are the ones who do it. We should be respected enough to sit at a table and have the conversation. They should not be afraid of including us in decision-making.” She estimates they have been requesting a nursing task force for about two years now.

SUN represents Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Registered Psychiatric Nurses in Saskatchewan.