GPC Celebrates Start of Nursing Program

GPC Celebrates Start of Nursing Program Education SouthWest Saskatchewan  Saskatchewan Great Plains College Cypress Health Region   Two students, Alicia Elmgren (left at podium) and Jessica Mosher-Slinn, speak at an event launching the Registered Nursing Program

Great Plains College celebrated the start of the new Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at the Swift Current Campus on Monday.

Representatives from the college, Provincial Government, SIAST, University of Regina and Cypress Health Region were on hand to speak at the launch event, and to meet the eight students that will make up the first class.

“It’s unbelievable to be able to stay in Swift Current, and be able to take everything here… most of us wouldn’t go anywhere else,” said Alicia Elmgren, one of the students enrolled in the class.

The students will be taking advantage of distance learning opportunities from SIAST and the U of R thanks to increased bandwidth at the college, and hands-on training through expanded labs on campus, and use of the new Simulation Lab at Cypress Regional Hospital.

“We’re just delighted to offer the program here in Swift Current, and to offer the opportunity for those eight students to take the program close to where they live, and where they have the support of family and friends,” said Netha Dyck, Dean of the Nursing Division at SIAST.

It’s the first time that a four-year university nursing program has been offered in southwest Saskatchewan, and there are indications that it could open the door for more degree opportunities for students in Saskatchewan’s smaller cities, but the partners are waiting to see if there’s success in this program before expanding it further.

“What we want to do at this point is demonstrate some success in Swift Current,” said David Gregory, the Dean of the U of R’s Faculty of Nursing. “We wouldn’t rule out the possibility of other opportunities, but right now, we want to focus on this initiative and make sure that we are successful.”

There are also hopes that offering the program in Swift Current could help solve challenges with nursing recruitment in the Cypress Health Region. CEO Beth Vachon says one of the advantages is that they will be working with the students directly in their training.

“When we have the opportunity to bring students in as part of our team, I think that gives us an added edge in the competition for healthcare professionals,” she added.

And at least one of the students is expressing their desire to pursue a career in the southwest after graduating.

“I’ve been born and raised in Southwest Saskatchewan, so I’m pretty much here for life,” Elmgren said. “Some of the younger ones might want to venture out eventually, but I think many of the mature students, which is half the class, are planning to stay in the area.”

The first-year graduates will receive their degrees in 2017, and every first-year class will consist of eight students. Applications for the program will be accepted from October 1st to February 15th of every school year.

via Local News

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