With some closures being reported in hospitals across the province since the pandemic started, many experts are taking a look at nursing, one sector which health care heavily relies on.
While jobs are available for many prospective workers, those can come in a variety of types, such as part-time, full-time, and casual.
President of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses Tracy Zambory explains the choice that many young nurses face as they start their careers.
“The reason that most registered nurses or anyone for that matter, would prefer a part-time position is for that work-life balance. They still have the ability to access benefits, it's just done a different way in the collective agreement than, let's say, a full-time position. They get what's called prorated benefits that are based on the number of hours that they work."
“There are all sorts of people who want to work full-time, there are all sorts who want to work part-time and there are others who prefer cash. It depends on what their lifestyle is, and how they want to have that work-life balance. It really is a mix."
Zambory says that many of those part-time workers would still like the option of being able to work themselves into a part-time position for a number of reasons.
The reason she gives for full-time work being so sought after is the financial stability that brings, especially for those getting out of college or looking to take on debt.
"People are often coming out of university with an incredible amount of student debt and to be able to get yourself into a financial position that's workable, that takes a permanent full-time position," said Zambory," Then if you start looking at wanting to have a mortgage or buying something, in the eyes of pretty much any financial institution out there you have to have some sort of reliable employment and that's a permanent full-time position no matter where you work.”
“A registered nurse with a permanent full-time position in the health authority, it shows reliability and it gives stability to the system so that that's what people are wanting and needing these days.”
Zambory says the current crisis is based less on nurses not wanting to take certain jobs and more on a lack of labour in general.
“The issue that we have right now is that we're in a health human resource crisis, particularly in nursing. We're getting close to 900 full-time equivalents short of registered nurses in the province. So it's really difficult in the rural facilities right now and in fact, even into the city.”
Zambory says she hopes to solve the problem with the help of the province, which released in a statement:
Building capacity within the health care system and strengthening the current and future health care workforce are top priorities for the Government of Saskatchewan.
Additionally, they pointed to their Health Care Human Resources Action Plan, which they say is in the process of adding 250 new and enhanced permanent, full-time health care positions in rural and remote locations across the province.