Province welcomes first RNs from Philippines recruitment trip

Herald File Photo

The first five Registered Nurses (RNs) recruited from the Philippines are set to arrive in Saskatchewan this week.

The RNS have conditional job offers, and are required to complete in-person training in Saskatchewan before beginning their employment with the SHA.

Health Minister Paul Merriman said he is thrilled to have the first group of nurses arrive in the province.

“As home to a thriving, vibrant and growing Filipino community, our province has experienced great success in welcoming and integrating Filipino health care professionals,” Merriman said in a press release. “I look forward to these RNs completing their training and joining our health care workforce.”

The province has recruited more than 400 RNs from two recruitment trips to the Philippines. The first came in the winter of 2022, while the second was in the spring of 2023.

The province said in a press release that internationally educated nurses would move through the RN pathway, which includes language assessment and training, before licensing.

In late August, the provincial government plans to shortened the licencing timeline to 14 weeks to help get internationally educated nurses into the workplace faster. The province said they’ve filled 157 of the 250 new and enhanced permanent full-time positions in rural and remote areas. They’ve also approved 140 healthcare workers who applied for the $50,000 Rural and Remote Recruitment Incentive

Saskatchewan NDP Rural and Remote Health Critic Matt Love welcomed the arrival of five more healthcare workers, but said the new nurses aren’t enough to make up for those leaving the province or leaving the profession.

“It feels like every week we hear of a new community that has lost a local nurse or family doctor,” Love said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. “The plan to hire more healthcare workers doesn’t work if we can’t retain the ones we have now. We need a real retention strategy that is built together with healthcare workers. They deserve a voice at the table.”

Statistics Canada reported 330 nursing vacancies in Saskatchewan at the end of the third quarter for 2021. That’s up from the 220 vacancies reported in the second quarter, 2021. Most of those vacancies were registered nurses or registered psychiatric nurses.

Since December 2022, the SHA has hired 485 grad nurses from the province and across Canada.