On October 10, Saskatoon Health Region awarded 163 Bravo Awards to recognize employees, volunteers and physicians.The SUN-Saskatoon Health Region Retention and Recruitment Committee received a Bravo Award for Collaboration.

“This committee was results focused, however it also recognized the importance of developing trusting, transparent and meaningful relationships,” says Bonnie Blakley, vice president of People and Partnerships in her nomination package. “This committee worked hard, had fun and grew to appreciate each other’s strengths. This is an example of what can be achieved when all parties come together with the same objective.”

The initial projects established from this committee have been finalized, and some of these recruitment processes will continue – a new tripartite partnership agreement has been signed between the Ministry of Health, SUN and each regional health authority. The Tripartite Steering Committee has identified and agreed to three key priorities of immediate concern: regularization of hours of work, improved safety for nurses and retention and recruitment in rural and remote locations.

“Registered nurses are important partners in bringing about the transformation we’re seeing in our health system,” says Minister of Health Dustin Duncan. “This new partnership provides a wonderful opportunity to continue working together on our shared commitment to a quality health care system where we put the patient first in everything we do.”

The original Retention and Recruitment Committee first met in April 2009. In June 2010, the committee created a strategy for using the allotted funds of $881,119 for retention and recruitment that contributed to patient and client centred care, employee safety, enhanced quality care and based on quality care. Four major themes emerged from this session:

• healthy and respectful workplaces
• professional development
• recruitment and retention to rural nursing
• recruitment and retention to urban long term care nursing

Key initiatives to support these themes included:

– Healthy and respectful workplace sessions with well-known nurse and facilitator Kathleen Bartholomew. More than 470 people attended the sessions and another 4,000 hits were registered on SUN/Region internet sites where her videos are hosted.

– Professional development funding that included both $500 and $2,000 bursaries. More than 300 learning events were funded for SUN members to attend local, provincial, national and international events.

– The committee completed focused work to support retention and recruitment of RN and RPNs to rural and long term care facilities including return for service incentives for RNs and RPNs accepting positions in these priority areas. Seventeen RNs secured employment at a rural site with a $7,500 return for service agreement over three years and eight accepted employment in urban long term care with a $2,500 return for service agreement over two years.

Visit http://www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca/health_region_staff/sun.htm for more information.