The government of British Columbia is expanding opportunities for health education in northern B.C., marked by the opening of a physiotherapy teaching lab at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) today, built in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC), and a commitment to provide long-term funding to the Rural Nursing Certificate Program.
The new physiotherapy teaching lab at UNBC's Prince George campus will support UNBC's role as the clinical hub for students in the Northern and Rural Cohort (NRC) of UBC's Master of Physical Therapy program. The state-of-the-art lab is connected to the UBC Faculty of Medicine, allowing for distributed learning as well as local teaching. It is equipped with four large video monitors, video cameras and a full complement of physiotherapy teaching equipment, including nine plinths (assessment and treatment tables).
The first 15 NRC students were admitted this September and are currently pursuing coursework at UBC. Their first northern/rural clinical placements will start in April. The following placement sites are already confirmed: Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Prince George, Quesnel, Terrace, and Prince Rupert.
Government has also committed ongoing funding for the Rural Nursing Certificate Program, which was first developed and implemented as a pilot project starting in 2007. The goals of the program are to promote confidence and increase competence and safety in rural nursing practice. The program also includes a Remote Nursing Certified Practice course that provides practicing nurses with the opportunity to obtain the certification required to work in remote communities. To date, 331 registered nurses have participated in the program; from 24 northern communities and 77 other communities throughout the province.
Pat Bell, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie -
"We recognize that health-care students who are educated in the North are more likely to stay and practice in the North. Physical therapy students who are part of the new clinical cohort now have the facility and tools they need to continue their studies here in the North. They will have the opportunity to pursue careers and contribute to the economy in the North, providing quality health care to northern and rural communities, keeping them vibrant and healthy."
"In addition, it is important to recognize the partnership between UNBC and UBC that allows physical therapy students to gain practical experience in northern and rural areas."
Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount -
"It is critical that we continue to add health-care training opportunities in northern British Columbia. The Rural Nursing Certificate Program, developed from UNBC research on the nature of nursing practice in rural and northern communities, provides practicing nurses here in the North with a unique opportunity for specialized certification closer to home."
"Our government has made increased training opportunities in the North a priority, and this new program demonstrates that continued commitment."
Dr. George Iwama, president, University of Northern British Columbia -
"These programs provide further evidence of UNBC's commitment to work with other universities, government and Northern Health to increase the number of health-care workers who are trained in the region. The Rural Nursing Certificate Program is particularly unique for UNBC in that it emerged from a research project led by UNBC professor Martha Macleod. It's tangible evidence of how research can inform education."
Dr. Gavin Stuart, dean, Faculty of Medicine, vice-provost Health, UBC -
"This lab represents our ongoing commitment to provide more clinical learning opportunities for physical therapy students in northern communities, as well as more professional development opportunities for therapists already practicing there. Now students and professionals will be able to connect through real-time, two-way video to students and instructors at UBC in Vancouver or one of the 20 other clinical sites throughout the province. This is a crucial step in ensuring that residents of northern B.C receive the same level of care as those in the rest of the province."
For information about UNBC, go to: http://www.unbc.ca
For information about the UBC physical therapy program, go to: http://www.rehab.ubc.ca/
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology
Robert van Adrichem
Vice-president External Relations
University of Northern British Columbia
Communications Manager, Faculty of Medicine
University of British Columbia