Health-care assistants now have more financial support to become licensed practical nurses, helping them advance their careers, build a stronger future and develop the skills to provide more comprehensive care to people throughout the province.
A new bursary program will also help meet the increased demand for nursing staff in B.C.
“I’m proud to support health-care assistants in their continued pursuit of education to become licensed practical nurses,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This bursary will create new avenues for individuals seeking long-term, rewarding and in-demand careers in our health-care system. It’s another step forward in a series of announcements to come addressing immediate health-care needs in B.C.”
The Province is providing a new $3-million bursary fund for health-care assistants registered in an access to practical nursing (APN) program from Sept. 1, 2021, to May 31, 2024, at a qualifying public post-secondary institution.
Qualifying institutions are any public post-secondary institution in B.C. offering an APN program recognized by the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM). Currently, these include Coast Mountain College, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, North Island College and Vancouver Community College.
As part of the February 2022 nursing seat announcement, the Province committed to provide funding for the development of additional APN programs at Okanagan College, Vancouver Island University, North Island College and Northern Lights College.
“Together, we’re making a better life for British Columbians. We’re accomplishing this by improving access to much-needed health services in our province, and providing amazing career opportunities for people,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “With these bursaries, we’re making education more affordable and accessible for people to make the leap and upskill from health-care assistant positions to practical nursing; a valued career that is in very high demand.”
Each eligible health-care assistant will receive $10,000 to cover the cost of the program, including tuition and fee costs. Participants will be required to sign a 12-month return-of-service agreement, committing to work in the health-care system following graduation from the program.
“The past two years have reminded us how important it is that we provide the highest quality of care possible for our seniors,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long-Term Care. “In order to uphold the reliable and best quality of care for our aging population, we need to train more health-care assistants and licensed practical nurses for the future, and this bursary is a step in the right direction.”
Expanding support for health-care assistants is one way the Province is addressing pressures placed on B.C.’s health system. This announcement builds on the 602 new nursing seats added to public post-secondary institutions throughout the province in February 2022 and 322 allied health-related seats in July 2022.
“Providing more supports for people to upskill and expand their careers is a key priority as we look to fill an expected one million job openings coming to B.C. over the next 10 years,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “Our government is committed to continuing our work with the health sector to find new ways to remove barriers to employment for people so we can increase the number of health-care staff available to support British Columbians as soon as possible.”
Learn more about the Health Career Access Program:
Learn more about B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan:
Learn more about support for internationally educated nurses:
Learn more about provincewide nursing seats:
Learn more about allied health seats:
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