As a health care provider, Saskatoon Health Region works often and well with the unions representing its employees.  That hasn’t changed for 90 Days of Innovation: Ready Every Day, the current 90-day cycle of breakthrough improvements.

“We’ve been having discussions at all of our joint union management meetings, and we invited union representatives to the open house in April. We walked them through the team rooms with the team leads to talk about what we’re doing, and share the data we’ve collected, so they can share it with their members,” explained Petrina McGrath, process lead for Ready Every Day.  “We’ve also been asking the unions themselves about how they want to be involved.”

The unions – Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS) – have all been invited to join the teams, and an open invitation has been issued to them to attend the weekly report-out, held each Tuesday at Royal University Hospital (RUH).  Most of all, though, the focus has been on involving union members – Saskatoon Health Region employees – in the work that’s been going on.

“We’ve involved their members and our employees in the cycle, and there are still opportunities for them to be on the teams,” McGrath said.

Why is it so important that unions get involved in this cycle?

“Because we have common goals,” McGrath explained. “A large part of the work that we are doing is to create a better work environment for our staff, which will results in a better experience and better care for patients. The union members who work for the Region share our focus on patients and families, and making sure their care experience is a good one. The unions want to ensure staff are supported, as do we.”

In order to achieve the goals of the cycle, the people who actually do the work need to be engaged, McGrath said, and the improvements made need to be important to them.

“We need to tap into their knowledge,” she added.

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