Increase to nurse practitioner positions in Sask

June 17, 2024, 10:15 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


More Nurse Practitioners will be going to work throughout the province, after a funding announcement last week from the provincial government. The plan is to place 27 new NP positions in various rural and remote areas across Saskatchewan, part of a $4.5 million commitment from this year’s budget.

“Nurse Practitioners play a vital role in the Saskatchewan health care system, and adding positions in rural and remote areas will help residents find the care they need closer to home,” Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Tim McLeod said. “We look forward to seeing more Nurse Practitioners providing quality care in Saskatchewan communities.”

While the application deadline for the positions had originally been set to expire on June 10, Jacqui Kennett-Peppler, Executive Director of Primary Health Care for the southeast corner of the province, confirmed the posting is still active.

“Our posting for the Nurse Practitioner is still up,” she said. “We will keep that posting up until we have a successful candidate through that process. We’ve been really lucky in quite a few of our communities to have some really stable Nurse Practitioners. It’ll be great to see these positions get filled to add to our teams. But, it’s just a waiting game to to have all the positions filled and stabilized, and nurse practitioners are absolutely a key component to rural stabilization with health care.”

One of the communities on the list is Esterhazy with nobody hired for the position yet, although the interview process is pending. Esterhazy already has one NP on their health care team, and the addition of a second will no doubt be a welcome one.

“We have a lot of our smaller rural communities that are are working with us to try to create some incentives to attract in health care professionals and nurse practitioners would certainly fall within that category,” Kennett-Peppler remarked on attracting healthcare professionals in general. “The communities see how difficult it is at times to recruit into some of our smaller areas. Definitely, those areas that are more remote in the province are a little bit harder to recruit into. It’s so important that we have that collaboration with our communities and their support in trying to help us recruit to the area.”

Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses whose training supports a higher scope of practice. Through working with a primary care team, NPs offer many of the same services that family physicians also deliver, such as advanced assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of acute and chronic illness; ordering diagnostic tests; admitting and discharging patients; prescribing medication; performing medical procedures; and giving referrals to specialist services.

“The Saskatchewan Association of Nurse Practitioners is pleased to see the creation of 27 new positions for Nurse Practitioners across the province,” SANP President Elect Michelle O’Keefe said. “These positions will assist with the stabilization of primary health care services in these communities whilst creating employment opportunities for NPs who may have been previously under-utilized.”

Figuring out where to assign these new positions was done in partnership with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and SANP, prioritizing communities that need the additional NO services.

“We support the integration of more Nurse Practitioners into primary health care teams across Saskatchewan, working alongside physicians and other health care professionals to deliver high quality care,” Saskatchewan Health Authority Vice-President for Integrated Northern Health and Chief Nursing Officer Andrew McLetchie said. “We remain committed to enhancing access to health care for all residents of the province and stabilizing services in rural and remote communities to achieve our vision to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone, every day.”

Right now, there are 360 licensed NPs working throughout Saskatchewan.