Program introduces students to unique aspects of delivering health care in small urban and rural communities
A new nursing program has begun in northern British Columbia, and it will soon make healthcare more accessible for residents of the area.
Earlier this month, 13 students began their studies in the new Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program at the University of Northern British Columbia’s (UNBC). The program is supported by a $33-million investment from the provincial government.
“In the North, people deserve access to the high-quality, local care that the Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program will provide in its graduates,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health. “When students receive the best training on how to deliver care in northeastern communities, the people living in them will benefit from having access to health-care workers who understand their specific needs.”
The program begins at a time when there is a great need for more healthcare workers. Last month, several unions demanded an urgent and comprehensive strategy from the Ontario government to address what they describe as a worsening human health resources crisis in the province.
The new two-year bachelor of science in nursing program aims to improve access to healthcare in the region by training nurses locally. It introduces students to the unique aspects of delivering health care in small urban and rural communities located throughout the Peace River region and beyond.
It runs in five consecutive semesters, featuring both face-to-face classroom instruction and online components. Students will also complete clinical practicums in a variety of hospital, clinic and community settings in a collaboration with Northern Health.
“We recognize there are nursing recruitment challenges in the northeast region and beyond, but we also know that training people close to where they live makes a difference,” said Colleen Nyce, board chair, Northern Health. “This program is a significant development in ensuring northeastern B.C. residents have health-care education and employment opportunities close to home, and Northern Health looks forward to welcoming future nursing graduates from this program.”
Previously, the government announced a total investment of $6 million through the Health System Impact Fellowship (HSIF) program to provide more than 50 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows with on-the-job learning opportunities in health system organizations across Canada.