People in the North will soon receive first-class care from graduates of the University of Northern British Columbia’s (UNBC) new Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program.
In early September, the program’s first cohort of 13 students began their studies in Fort St. John.
Supported by $3.3 million in capital funding from the Province, the program introduces students to the unique aspects of delivering health care in small urban and rural communities located throughout the Peace River region and beyond.
“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 new program, housed at UNBC’s space in the Northern Lights College campus, makes nursing education more accessible for people living in northeastern British Columbia and aims to improve access to health care in the region by training nurses locally.
“By investing in in-demand programs, we are committed to training the next generation of nurses in northern B.C.,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “This program will give more students opportunities for hands-on learning, so they can provide quality health care where it is needed.”
The two-year bachelor of science in nursing program runs in five consecutive semesters, featuring both face-to-face classroom instruction and online components. Students will complete clinical practicums in a variety of hospital, clinic and community settings thanks to collaboration with Northern Health.
UNBC partnered with Northern Lights College to refresh and expand its footprint on campus. The renovations provide new, contemporary space that facilitates hands-on leaning in a new nursing lab and expands classroom capacity, supporting face-to-face and online learning. In addition, Northern Lights College offers associate degrees designed to feed into the Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program.
Geoff Payne, interim president, UNBC –
“We are thrilled to welcome our first cohort of students into the Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program. This impressive group of 13 students, along with our phenomenal faculty in the School of Nursing, represents a new chapter for health-care education in the northeast.”
Colleen Nyce, board chair, 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. 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.”
Loren Lovegreen, senior vice-president, academic and research, Northern Lights College –
“Northern B.C. students that want to become registered nurses have an incredible opportunity thanks to our partnership with Northern Health and UNBC. Being able to get their education close to home and work in this region once they finish is not only beneficial to them, but to our health-care industry as well.”
- The Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program addresses one of the recommendations from the Auditor General of British Columbia’s report, Independent Audit of the Recruitment and Retention of Rural and Remote Nurses in Northern British Columbia.
- Applicants must have 60 university-level post-secondary credits to apply.
- The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training works with the Ministry of Health to support areas of highest need for the health-sector workforce.
UNBC Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program: https://www2.unbc.ca/nursing/northern-baccalaureate-nursing-program