Cost of travel nurses in Sask. justified due to threat of service disruptions: province
Travel nurses go from place to place, all over the world, filling in wherever help is needed. To assist with current shortages, some are in Saskatchewan.
According to the ministry of health, there are about 100 travel nurses operating in rural Saskatchewan.
However, they come at a high price.
On one travel nurse recruitment website, the province currently has about three dozen nursing positions advertised.
The majority are for ER or critical care nursing positions and offer $92 an hour.
OR nurses start at $67 hourly, LPNS $52 and up.
The listings noted that travel as well as housing are also provided.
According to Minister of Health Paul Merriman, travel nurses are essential in keeping service disruptions to a minimum.
“It’s important that we have them right now because if we don’t have them, then there is going to be further service disruptions,” he explained.
Saskatchewan is not alone.
Nova Scotia has spent $30 million on travel nurses over the past 18 months.
On Vancouver Island, costs related to travel nurses rose to over $27 million last year.
“Increased salaries and premiums, why are those not being allocated for our nurses that are in the health care system?” Aman Grewal, president of the B.C Nurses Union said.
The health minister considers the employment of travel nurses a “temporary measure.”
“Today, if I have to pull 100 nurses out of rural Saskatchewan, that’s going to cause a lot of problems and we can’t afford to have those problems,” Merriman said.
“I’d rather have them in there providing the service even if it’s at a higher amount than not having them at all.”
The province went on to say that it appreciates the work of travel nurses who are doing critical work in hard to fill positions, as the search continues for a permanent staffing solution.
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