The first cohort of nursing students at Okanagan College (OC) are on their way to completing the first half of the four-year bachelor of science in nursing program with the help of the college's new, state-of-the-art health simulation lab.
Steven Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission, Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country and Ben Stewart, MLA for Westside-Kelowna will be joined by OC and UBCO executive, faculty, staff and students to officially open the new health simulation lab. The new lab will allow students to acquire nursing knowledge and gain practical experience, preparing them with the latest technology in their field.
Through a collaborative partnership between OC and the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus (UBCO), 26 nursing students enrolled in this new program will benefit from a learning environment that supports small class sizes, problem-based learning, and fosters collegial and inter-professional relationships.
Students who successfully complete all courses in years one and two at OC will be fully prepared to transfer to, and guaranteed admission, into the bachelor of science in nursing program at UBCO to complete the final two years of the program.
This partnership provides students with more choices for nursing education, including choice of where they can receive this education. It is also and investment into a priority health-education program that will benefit British Columbians now and in the future.
The Province provided the post-secondary institutions with a combined $2 million in startup funding to get the program up and running for September 2011. The Ministry of Advanced Education will also provide ongoing funding to support the additional student enrolment.
Ben Stewart, MLA for Westside-Kelowna -
"Partnerships like this one between the Okanagan College and UBCO exemplify the collaboration and innovation needed to ensure B.C. has the skilled workers we need in the future."
Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College president -
"Today we celebrate two important developments for Okanagan College and for the community."
"The investment from the Province in our new health lab and in the delivery of years one and two of the bachelor of science in nursing program have resulted in increased access for students seeking a career in health care. The return on that investment will greatly benefit our community and add to the growing number of health-care professionals being trained here at the college and at our partner institution, the University of British Columbia."
Doug Owram, UBC Okanagan deputy vice chancellor and principal -
"Connecting the nursing programs at Okanagan College and UBC expands capacity for nursing education in our region and for all of British Columbia."
"We are grateful to both Okanagan College and the Government of British Columbia for their strong commitment to this partnership and look forward to welcoming Okanagan College nursing students into the third and fourth years of our BSN degree two years from now, in 2013."
- 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 4,500 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 26 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 Okanagan College, go to: http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/
To learn more about the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus, go to: http://www.ubc.ca/okanagan/welcome.html
Ministry of Advanced Education