Letter to the Editor: Is the Saskatchewan health care profession in trouble?

Letter to the Editor: Is the Saskatchewan health care profession in trouble?


A letter to the editor from Marte Olsen, SEIU member

The question that has been playing on my mind recently is whether it’s time to leave my career in Health Care. I talk with other Health Care Employees and this question seems to not only be on my mind, but theirs as well. I hear exhausted, discouraged, defeated and angry voices in my conversations with my co-workers.

SEIU Essential Health Care Employees have gone without a pay raise for three and a half years with no pay increase in sight. The Government got their pay increases, as well as other Essential Services, but there never seems to be enough Government money or significance given to Health Care Employees. This has been an ongoing observation of mine for many years.

Do we really appreciate our Saskatchewan Health Care workers? We certainly were appreciated during the pandemic, but as this pandemic is somewhat under control and memories get short, are we are no longer seen as appreciated, as much as we are taken for granted?

I hear the younger generations make comments like, “I would never think of Health Care as a profession, you guys work too hard and don’t get paid enough” or “seems Health Care Employees are always fighting for a pay raise” or “I wouldn’t be dedicated enough to a job that I would want to look after unwell people 24/7, I would burn out after five years” or “if I’m going to risk my life it will be in a Profession that pays better than Health Care”.

After hearing these comments, it brings me to wonder, are we heading towards difficulty in our Province? Where are the so called “appreciated” Health Care Employees going to come from in the future?

All Saskatchewan SEIU Health Care Employees recently voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action to acquire a fair pay increase. With no pay raise for three and a half years, does the Saskatchewan Government truly appreciate all their Health Care workers? Is it time to consider the Health Care Profession as a “taken for granted Profession”?

Is the Health Care Profession seen as an Essential service or an “abused” service? Are we only appreciated during a crisis or are we appreciated and respected every day? These are questions at the forefront of my mind after 26 years in Health Care. 

The morale is low right now; co-workers are exhausted, feeling “used up” and are angry!

Where is this all going and who is going to take on this Profession in the future? The younger generation in our Province are watching, taking notes and deciding what Profession they are going to choose!

Marte Olsen
SEIU Member