Registered nurses sound alarm regarding Saskatchewan patients being put at risk

Saskatchewan Union of Nurses’ survey shows majority concerned with level of patient care
WATCH ABOVE: A majority of registered nurses say they’ve been witness to a patient being put at risk because of short-staffing. Meaghan Craig reports.

Registered nurses are once again ringing alarm bells in regards to the state of health care in Saskatchewan. An overwhelming majority of RNs say they’ve been witness to a patient being put at risk because of short-staffing.

Startling results the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) says were gathered after surveying close to 1,400 registered nurses.

“Eighty-five per cent of the members that were surveyed told us that they know of situations where patients were put at risk due to short-staffing,” SUN president Tracy Zambory said.

“The reason why that is troubling to me is because it actually did not change from the membership survey that we did in 2016.”

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Even more unnerving, close to 43 per cent of nurses admitted patients were put at risk on frequent basis and there’s no end in sight.

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“The registered nurses of this province are telling us that this system is under pressure like they’ve never seen before,” Zambory said.

“They’re feeling burnt, they’re stressed.”

So much in fact, close to 37 per cent of RNs have considered leaving the profession in the last 12 months as pressures like a rise in population, overcapacity and unfilled vacancies continue to plague the health care system.

As for what degree patients are being put in harm’s way, Zambory pointed to stats released by the Ministry of Health just last year – showing a 28 per cent increase in critical incidents.

“We know that a critical incident is something bad happened to a patient that wasn’t supposed to.”

According to Zambory, the greatest fear is will take the death of patient to generate change but she hopes instead that the province will utilize SUN’s membership and along with it their expertise and innovate ideas.

“We could think about using nurse practitioners in the emergency rooms where we could be taking the pressure off the physicians so that they can be looking at what are the most troubling cases that come in,” Zambory added.

“We could think about having a registered nurse prescribe – again to take pressure off the system.”

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SUN is always in constant communication with the ministry and minister of health as it pushes for a seat on the transition team as the 12 existing health authorities are narrowed down to one.

“We want to be part of the transition team, we want to be able to help shape health care in Saskatchewan where it puts patients first.”