Future nurses in B.C.'s Interior will now have more options to get their education closer to home and closer to their families with the addition of 24 local first-year student spaces.
Thanks to a collaborative partnership between Okanagan College (OC) and the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus (UBCO), nursing students now will have the option to complete the first half of the four-year bachelor of science in nursing program at the college. Students will then join other third-year nursing students at UBCO, where they will complete their degree requirements together. This program means that, starting in 2015, up to 134 nursing students will graduate from UBCO each year.
This partnership provides students with more choices for nursing education - and another choice of where they can receive this education. It's also an investment into a priority health-education program that will result in jobs and will benefit British Columbians now and in the future.
The Province is providing the post-secondary institutions with a combined $2 million in startup funding to get the program up and running this September. The ministry will also provide ongoing funding to support the additional student enrolment.
Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission -
"It is our job to ensure that students in British Columbia have access to relevant, quality post-secondary education that will result in jobs. By creating these new spaces, we are helping to create more trained health-care professionals to deliver the quality of care Okanagan residents deserve."
Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country -
"The timing of this is excellent. The Province's Labour Market Outlook Data shows that we will need more nurse supervisors and registered nurses in the Thompson-Okanagan region in 2016. This program will help to fill that need."
Ben Stewart, MLA for Westside-
"These 24 new nursing spaces at Okanagan College mean we are building on Okanagan College's outstanding track record of training nurses, while giving local students the ability to learn closer to home and closer to their families."
University of British Columbia deputy vice-chancellor Doug Owram -
"This new program will create a collaborative process in a very important area, the education and training of nurses. The additional spaces will mean that we can graduate a greater number of well-prepared nurses in what is now one of the most recognized nursing programs in the country."
Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton -
"This adds to a growing list of partnerships we have with UBC Okanagan that really addresses the education and training needs of our region and B.C. With support from the Province, we'll continue to deliver more educational opportunities for students and more trained professionals to meet the skills challenge we'll face here and across the country in the coming years."
- The Province has invested more than $200 million through the BC Nursing Strategy to educate, recruit and retain nurses.
- B.C. has more than doubled the number of nurse training spaces, adding more than 4,300 new spaces and producing a record number of graduates who have received more than 20,000 degrees, diplomas and certificates in B.C.
- The number of practising nurses in B.C. has risen to nearly 44,000 - with nearly 13,000 more nurses practising in this province, an increase of nearly 22 per cent.
- The Province has created 25 new nursing education programs at public post-secondary institutions in B.C. - including practical nurse, registered nurse, psychiatric nurse, nurse practitioner and other graduate nurse programs.
- In 2010-11, the Province provided over $1.5 million in B.C. student loan forgiveness for nursing graduates who work in underserved B.C. communities for three years.
- $2 million in provincial funds have been allocated for an Aboriginal Nursing Strategy to increase the number of nurses of Aboriginal ancestry working in B.C. and to increase the number of Aboriginal communities in B.C. with quality nursing care.
- Recognizing the demand for nurses, the Province has established three new three-year accelerated nursing degree programs at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Vancouver Community College and the University of the Fraser Valley to graduate nurses sooner so they enter the workforce faster.
To learn more about UBCO's school of nursing, visit: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/nursing/welcome.html
To learn more about Okanagan College, go to: www.okanagan.bc.ca/
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 893-5650 (cell)