For students who want a guaranteed job after graduation, nothing comes closer than nursing in Saskatchewan. According to the Regina Leader-Post, the government has hired 900 nurses since 2008, but could need as many as 2,000 more in the next two years if those set to retire do so as planned. There were already 449 nursing jobs being advertised in the province last month.
The government has increased seats at post-secondary schools for registered nurses dramatically in the past four years: from 300 in 2006 to 690 now, but that likely won’t be enough.
That’s why, in last week’s Throne Speech, the government announced that seats in universities to train nurse practitioners—highly-paid advanced nurses who often have the ability prescribe drugs—will grow from 30 to 50 per year. The shortage is also the reason the government says it will forgive $20,000 of student loans for recent nursing graduates who work in rural and remote communities for at least five years. It’s easy to see why Saskatchewan is being so agreesive about training, wooing and keeping nurses: neighbouring Alberta is on a nurse hiring spree right now too.