Health Minister Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) President Rosalee Longmoore and the Regional Health Authorities have announced they have signed a renewal of their partnership agreement.
“Registered nurses are important partners in bringing about the transformation we’re seeing in our health system,” Duncan comments. “This new partnership provides a wonderful opportunity to continue working together on our shared commitment to a quality health care system where we put the patient first in everything we do.”
This two-year renewal builds on the successes of a 2008 SUN/government partnership, which committed to work together to solve Saskatchewan’s shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs), and Registered Nurse (Nurse Practitioners) by supporting and maintaining an appropriate, experienced, educated and engaged registered nurse workforce for the provision of high-quality, safe patient care.
The renewed tripartite partnership agreement recognizes the importance of a collaborative approach and the use of Lean principles to transform the health care system in a manner that supports the principles of Better Health, Better Care, Better Value and Better Teams. The agreement now formally includes health regions - vital partners in the delivery of high-quality health care for Saskatchewan residents.
“This partnership recognizes the critical role registered nurses play in ensuring the future sustainability of the health care system and we look forward to partnering with both employers and government on this ground-breaking initiative,” Longmoore says. “We are extremely optimistic about the potential for this collaborative approach to truly transform how we deliver patient- and family-centered care in the province.”
“This is a continuation of the strong relationship we’re building between SUN, the government and the health regions,” Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region President and CEO Dwight Nelson adds.
“It has led to success in recruitment and retention of hundreds of nurses and the ability for the parties to work together to improve the work environment and – most important – to improve the care experience of our patients. The signing of today’s agreement enables us to renew and continue the impressive collaboration I’ve seen at the SUN partnership table, and I’m pleased to make this commitment today on behalf of all health regions.”
The partnership will also explore areas such as:
• maximizing employment opportunities for graduate nurses;
• addressing the challenges of retaining and recruiting registered nurses into rural and northern facilities;
• working collaboratively toward a culture of safety;
• targeting recruitment and retention initiatives;
• and, increasing employee engagement.
The first of its kind in Canada, the 2008 agreement set out a framework for SUN and the provincial government to work with health regions to hire 800 RNs, RPNs and and RN(NP)s with annual targets set out for achieving this goal over four years.
Now more than 900 additional registered nurses are working in the province, more than exceeding the goal. Most of these registered nurses were hired as part of the work under the partnership agreement. SUN’s membership includes almost 9,000 Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and Registered Nurse (Nurse Practitioners).