A Saskatoon nurse is warning fellow nurses who work at the Royal University Hospital (RUH) to be careful when walking to their cars after their shift.
In a Facebook post that has now been shared nearly 4,000 times, Shauna Dugan wrote that five or six men in dark clothing surrounded her and two of her colleagues Tuesday night while they crossed ‘the tree park’, which is called President Murray Park, near Brunskill School.
Many nurses who work at RUH tell CKOM News they have to leave their vehicles near the park, which is several blocks south of the university campus between Aird Street and Colony Street.
Dugan said the men, who looked to be between 18 and 20 years old, emerged from the trees and began closing in on her group in mere seconds. According to the post, Dugan and her coworkers were able to run to the nearest car before anything happened, but she noted how “this situation very easily could have ended very differently.”
This comes just days after a woman was sexually assaulted while running on the Meewasin Trail behind RUH.
Campus security confirms they received a report from Dugan and have referred it to the Saskatoon Police Service. Kelsie Fraser, media relations spokesperson for SPS, said police are aware of the viral post and are looking into whether a report was made.
The Saskatoon Health Region has increased their security presence around the Royal University Hospital.
Luiza Kent-Smith, site leader for the Royal University Hospital, said Security Services have, on average, one incident per year.
“This is not something that happens frequently,” Kent-Smith said.
She suggested using the walk-along program, where security will escort anyone leaving the hospital to their vehicle, either by walking with them or giving them a ride.
Security Services saw twice as many people using the service Wednesday night after the story surfaced.
Kent-Smith acknowledged there is not enough parking at the hospital for all the staff and many are left to park on the street. She said the health-care facility’s priority is to provide parking for patients and visitors.
There are currently 1,187 stalls in the RUH parkade available for staff. Lot D by Ellis Hall has 69 spots and Lot E has 520 stalls.
Kent-Smith suggested using public transit, which frequently visits the area because of the university campus.
The health region is making several recommendations to their employees:
• Survey immediate area before exiting vehicle
• Refrain from texting and walking at the same time
• Keep volume low if wearing ear buds
• Park in well-lit areas at night
• Use the buddy system to walk to vehicle, if possible
• If you have to walk alone, you can request a “walk-along” from Security Services to and from your vehicle by calling the switchboard (306-655-1000)
• Do not take any undue risks to manage the situation
• Make as much noise as possible if you are approached
• Call for 911 for help
• Call a code white (321) for assistance if on Saskatoon Health Region property
• Report any suspicious persons to Security Services and your manager
Dugan declined an interview.