Many of Saskatchewan’s remote northern communities only have access to a physician a few days a month. In these instances, it’s up to registered nurses and the health care team on the ground to ensure patients are getting the care they need when they need it.
Nearly 1 in 3 Saskatchewan residents live in rural and remote areas.
Rural and remote communities face unique challenges. They have lower life expectancy and higher overall mortality rates, driven by cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, injuries and suicides. Young boys and girls under the age of 20 living in remote areas have the highest risk of dying from suicide. Boys are more than four times, and girls almost seven times as likely to commit suicide than their urban counterparts.
Access to primary health care services, chronic disease management, diagnostic imaging, homecare to allow the elderly to age in their communities longer, mental health services, specialists, and even transport to urban centres to receive care are ongoing challenges.
With almost one third of Saskatchewan’s population living in rural and remote communities, having access to a skilled team of frontline professionals on the ground is essential.
“Our team does consist of a social worker and addictions counsellor, however, its us RNs that really are the primary caregivers for the community. We are the first people patients see when they walk in the door.”
—Dre Erwin, Registered Nurse (RN) stationed in the remote community of Pinehouse, 800 km north of Regina