saskatchewan nursing?

  1. Hey. I am finishing school next year and considering moving to Sask. from BC. I am thinking Saskatoon...I hear it is gorgeous. Anyone nursing there? Feel like making a comment? I would like to know about the best parts of the city to go, what kind of nursing is available, what to expect. Cheers!
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    Saskatoon? Really? I spent many a summer there because we have family that have lived in Sask for ever, but the winters are a killer. The city is very clean and well organized, but I have never really considered it because I have been told bad nursing stories.
  4. by   disher
    Lesley
    I trained and worked in Regina, spent many weekends in Saskatoon. The city is nice, people are friendly and the nurses will welcome you with open arms. Plus Saskatchewan has the best sunsets in Canada!
    I have worked for the past 14 years in Ontario, so cannot speak of the current conditions but assume the effects of the nursing shortage are similar throughout Canada.
    The one difference I have noticed between Saskatchewan and Ontario is the information systems. Saskatchewan has a unified information system. 98% of the acute care hospitals use NISS (Nursing Information System Saskatchewan) This system leads to consistency in documentation, workload measures and care plans and will adapt to a computerized system more readily then the various systems that are used in Ontario. This difference stands out to me, because I am interested in the impact nursing care has on patient outcomes. However, it may not be of interest to you so I won't bore you with a detailed discussion, on nursing data collection
  5. by   Marijke
    I worked with NISS in Powell River, and it would be a reason for me not to go to Saskatchewan. I much rather do my job than filling out all the paperwork and reading the NISS manuals.

    Marijke
  6. by   blitz
    Lesley,
    I've not been to Saskatoon yet, but we are headed there and I'll gladly share what I found out. In anticipation of moving, I've called a few of the health facilities. I spoke with the nurse recruiter for the big three hospitals; St Pauls, City hospital and Royal University Hospital. The top pay is 24.90 for RNs with over 5 years of experience. The shifts are rotating day-night. That was a big turnoff for me as I now choose my own shifts and currently make twice that - but when in Rome...... . There are other places such as the regional psychiatric facility that told me they are always in search of nurses. I don't know if Psych is anything you're interested in or not, but it may be worth a looksee. There are also numerous home care agencies. I've never done that but there's always the first time!
    Please let me know how the hunt goes and if you are, indeed, moving to the province. I'm looking forward to the move. Who knows, maybe we'll meet each other some day!
    Best,
  7. by   disher
    Lesley and Blitz
    A RN collegue moved from Toronto to Saskatoon a few years ago. She took a big drop in hourly pay but says it was worth it. The cost of living in Saskatoon made it possible for her to own a home raise a family and have a social life! She says this combination wasn't feasible in Toronto because housing is soo expensive.
  8. by   blitz
    Hey Disher,
    Thanks for the reply! I, too, have lived in TO and you're exactly right about the cost of living. We lived on Bay street and it wasn't exactly "home" to my boots and jeans look! I'm hoping things'll be a lot more relaxed out there in S'toon!
    Best
  9. by   Joshua21
    I have worked in Saskatoon for the last 5 years and can offer a little insight. Saskatoon itself is a beautiful city, clean, well organized and cheap (compared to other large centers) to live in.

    From a nursing standpoint...we are as short as anywhere else. What may be different about saskatchewan is that we are losing almost all of our new grads to the wealthier, better paid provinces on either side. Our nursing crisis is not getting better by any means and there is a serious lack of support by government officials, local to provincial, to do anything about it.

    Work conditions: We have a strong union which does get positive local results but we are in a strike year and it is likely that we will make some form of job action. (I often wonder, do the recruiters woo you with praise and comments but tell you that once you sign on the dotted line they will lock you out and play the media against you like you have been here for 40 years?) Our health care system is breaking down due to shortages of skilled labour on every level. We have some of the longest waiting lists for surgury and even medical admissions. Working here can be very dis-heartening.

    Do not expect to be treated as well once you get here by management. There is no recruitment effort worth mentioning within saskatchewan. Retention efforts are near non-existent. The only continuing ed courses outside the basics (bcls, acls) are and intro ICU course and Surgical course which they will pay for with your 2year commitment. Anything else and you are on your own. Orientation is usually 7 days including partner shifts in M-S and a little longer in the critical care areas. As a plus to new grads seeking entrance into critical care the district is really moving into hiring them with extensive orientation programs in place.

    As far as overtime, tonnes of overtime available unfortunatly not enough people to take it up which means beds are closed and you may end up working over census or with much higher acuity than even I am used to in my brief career. I have NOT heard of any attempts of mandatory overtime. Yet.

    In general, when I first started I thought the Saskatoon Health District was alright. You worked hard, made a good wage and pursued your educational goals on your own. Having gotten a different perspective in Alberta I really believe that SDH and Saskatchewan are getting away with murder. They retain their nurses with barely a hint of effort to retention as compared to the other provinces yet the nurses work just as hard.

    Saskatoon is a beautiful city and Saskatchewan a great province. Just two things: Don't get sick in SK and don't expect the job to be satisfying or appreciative.

    Please let me know if this helps!

    P.S. I'm not a bitter person, I'm just calling them as they are.
  10. by   blitz
    Dear Joshua,
    Thank you for the reply! That was a very thorough description.
    I talked with the nurse recruiter for the cityand to say efforts to recruit were weak is somewhat an understatement. I am an ICU nurse basically asking for a position and she did not exactly throw me a hook. She did quote the top salary - I would say a middle of the road figure at best - and then finished with the rotating shifts. She also mentioned that the nurses were negotiating a new contract. Do all hospitals (in the ICU) have mandatory rotations? Tell me it ain't so! Please ! That's a biggy for me, as I've done that, been there and don't wanna go there no more! (done with that nonsense!) Has nobody done a study into what rotating shifts do to the body? They make me physically sick! We're moving to SK because my husband has taken a position with the University. Me, being a nurse, figured I'd be able to fit in somewhere......

    I have also looked into the Regional Psych Centre. Do you know anything about this facility? My understanding is that it is a criminal psychiatric centre. They are sending me a packet of information and I'm really curious to see what they're offering.

    Any other information you could post about the RPC would be appreciated.

    Thank you so much!
  11. by   Joshua21
    I'm not sure what you mean by mandatory rotations but I can describe a little of what goes on. University ICU is a level one surgical/medical icu, 12 beds with 99% of pt's on a vent (if no vent usually on their way up), Art line and Central etc. You work on a "team" that has the same rotation (over what time period I'm not sure) and there are like 5 or 6 teams. It's really quite nice once you break the ice. While being the highest in pt acuity the ward is also the oldest and least modern, physically. Kind of like a dungeon, gloomy, 2 windows etc. Staff parking? 4-5 year waiting list minimum.

    St. Pauls ICU is a beautiful modern ICU, open view etc, 14 or 15 beds. The staff are some of the nicest I have ever worked with. About 1/4 to 1/2 of the patients are vented, typically, but that can easily climb. A M/S ICU as well, deals with a lot of vascular OR's (with the exception of CABG's which are the sole domain of University ICU), all hospital codes and anything else which wonders in. Overall acuity a little less than University.

    City Hospital is/was a technical dream hospital ahead of it's time and budget. Built in the 90's it's still a truly beautiful hospital. I don't have any personal experience with the ICU there but I understand its a beautiful ICU with a low level acuity and one or two vent's.

    RPC I know little about other than if you have the stomach for it, it's seen as a golden goose. The money is great (for SK) about 50-60K I'm told and also that it's federal union with incredible benefits. Not much more I can say.

    The info from ICU is a couple of years old so things may have changed a little but I doubt it.

    Hope this helps.
  12. by   blitz
    Joshua,
    You are truly wonderful to have written all this information. I really appreciate it.
    By mandatory rotation, I meant day-night rotations. All three hospitals sound wonderful, however the RPC will be within cycling distance for me, so I may well apply there first. We'll see where all this goes.
    I'll keep you informed and maybe we'll run into each other once I get to S'toon!
    Thanks again,
  13. by   Patience911
    Hello all, I work in Saskatoon and think it's a nice little city to work in.
    Joshua is very accurate in his description of the workplace situation in this province.
    One new item of some interest is that the Union here signed a tentative agreement which will increase the wages by about 20% over the next 3 years so the pay will go up a bit. The nurses will be having a ratification vote in about 2 weeks and if the contract is ratified, there should be no strike.
    Alberta and Manitoba nurses will still earn more and I really can't see the new contract stemming the out migration of nurses from this province. The number of grad nurses coming out of school will not make up for the numbers of nurses who will be retiring in the next 5 to 10 years.
    I work on a medical unit at RUH and am willing to answer any other questions you may have
  14. by   blitz
    Patience,
    Thank you for the response. I'm looking forward to our trip up to Saskatoon. It's getting so hot here it's impossible to go outside! I dread packing at the end of May, it'll be dreadful.
    It's nice to know at least a few names of people up there. It doesn't feel as though I'm moving into a totally strange city!
    Thanks again!
    :kiss

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