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Public survey confirms quality of nursing work life and nursing shortage an issue - So what are we waiting for?

SRNA Annual Meeting, Regina, May 3, 2006 Saskatchewan citizens have confidence in RNs' professional ability despite concern with a decline in the quality of care from RNs over the past five years, according to a public survey presented to the SRNA membership today.

A quarter (24%) reported that the care provided by RNs today is worse than five years ago, compared to 15% who say it is better. The remainder (60%) said it was about the same. Those who felt the care had declined commented on the highly demanding workplace, workloads, understaffing, a shortage of RNs and multitasking demands that limited direct RN time with clients.

Saskatchewan citizens decisively concluded that the province needs more RNs in the health care system. In fact, 89% agreed and 69% strongly agreed. The question received the highest endorsement from the Saskatchewan public.

"The survey report confirms what the SRNA has been saying all along," said Donna Brunskill RN, SRNA Executive Director. "The need to address the quality of nursing work life and the nursing shortage is growing more urgent every day. So what are we waiting for?"

Saskatchewan citizens responded with certainty to the statement "I support a publicly funded health care system." An impressive 80% agreed, including 63% who strongly agreed. There was also strong endorsement for the role played by RNs in shaping health policies.

In addition, the survey found that:

  • 86% agree that they have confidence in RNs' professional ability
  • 86% agree that they are treated fairly by RNs when they get health care
  • 83% agree that they are treated with respect by RNs when they get health care
  • 82% agree that RNs provide safe health care
  • 79% agree that RNs provide good value for the health care dollars spent
  • 73% agree that RNs should have a greater role in shaping health policies

The purpose of the survey Registered Nurses: Practice and Perceptions conducted by Sigma Analytics was to gather information to assist the SRNA to better serve the public and its members as part of on-going strategic planning. Computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted of a random sample of Saskatchewan residents, stratified by geographical regions to ensure adequate provincial coverage. The 609 completions yielded a general margin of error of plus or minus 4.0% at the 95% confidence level.

"The survey has provided much to ponder. Saskatchewan citizens value the role of the RN and have a right to a healthy nursing profession. We all have a role to play. Regional Health Authorities have to put significant effort into nursing leadership and the recruitment and retention of RNs in the valued positions that they are in. We must acknowledge the extent of the current shortage and the inadequate nursing work life and take immediate action to repair it", said Brunskill.

The SRNA is the professional regulatory body for registered nurses in the province. Founded in 1917, the SRNA represents the largest group of health professionals in the province with almost 9,000 practising members. The SRNA speaks out on health care issues on behalf of registered nurses and the public.

For more information, contact :
Maureen Belanger, Communications Coordinator
Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association
(306) 533-3945
(306) 359-4243