Saskatchewan’s “aggressive” action plan delivers results in communities across province
By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez
Saskatchewan’s second in-person recruitment mission to the Philippines in mid-March resulted in 236 conditional job offers extended to Registered Nurses (RNs) from Manila and Cebu.
The second mission how now brought nearly 400 Filipino RNs who are committed to joining the provincial workforce, the province said in a press release.
A small, focused group from the Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) hosted the mission in two major cities as part of continuous recruitment efforts that reinforces Saskatchewan as a preferred destination for internationally educated nurses (IENs).
“This second recruitment mission to the Philippines expanded on the success of our first mission last year by following up with many interested and qualified candidates that our Saskatchewan team had connected with,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said in the same release.
In an interview with Omni News, Merriman said they decided to expand outside Manila to try to get some more individuals that were in smaller communities so there wouldn’t be as hard of a transition coming from a larger community like Manila into a town of 500 to a 1000 in Saskatchewan.
Catherine Araos, Registered Nurse and Instructor from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said they are pushing for the province to provide all the necessary support that these nurses will need once they start working in Canada.
“What are we putting in place so we can support internationally educated nurses but I know that on our part, here in Saskatchewan, our union is pushing very hard to make sure that the health region is doing its part and responsibility and obligation to give that support,” she said.
Jeremy Pantig, Education Chair of Integrated Filipino Canadian Nurses Association, said they will lobby for the same assistance for the newly hired RNs.
“We want a concrete pathway on how they assimilate our nurses to the healthcare practice,” he said in the same report.
The province’s health authority conducted hundreds of job interviews over the course of a week, and was accompanied by Health Recruitment and Retention Navigators from the government along with nursing experts from post-secondary training institutions and nursing partners.
The Navigator Team met with several hundred potential IENs interested in working in Saskatchewan and prepared nearly 130 career action plans detailing the next steps for the IENs to ensure they will get the full support.
The 162 Filipino RNs who received conditional job offers in December 2022 are currently moving through the RN Pathway, which includes language training, bridging education and licensing.
Improving connections and engagement with Saskatchewan’s nursing students and recent graduates is also delivering positive results. The SHA has hired 114 Grad Nurses from Saskatchewan and across Canada since December. A further 81 conditional job offers have been made to nursing students who will be graduating this spring.
“Our aggressive Health Human Resources Action Plan is delivering results in rural and northern communities across our province,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said. “We are continuing to make record investments to recruit, train, incentivize and retain more doctors, nurses, lab techs and other healthcare professionals in Saskatchewan.”
The move came with a hefty price as key 2023-24 Budget investments include nearly $100 million across government, including $55.5 million for the Ministry of Health, to support Saskatchewan’s four-point Health Human Resources (HHR) Action Plan to recruit, train, incentivize and retain more health care workers and physicians.
An $11.9 million investment will continue supporting work underway to recruit internationally educated health care workers, including regulatory assessments, navigator services and settlement supports—all deemed necessary to retain the workers.
Over $22 million will be allocated for continued implementation of 250 new full-time positions and enhancement of part-time positions to full-time in rural and remote areas around the province, first announced in September 2022. As of late March, more than 100 of these positions have been filled, the province reported.