Assiniboine Community College is looking for communities to host one of three rural rotating practical nursing sites for the college over the next three years.
ACC is now accepting proposals for locations to begin programming in September 2014, January 2015 and September 2015.
Even in the early stages of the process, several communities are expressing interest, ACC’s dean of the school of health and human services Karen Hargreaves said.
“Most regions are asking for programs so we have to find a way to determine where the highest need is,” she said. “We want to make sure the graduates will get jobs.”
The rotating sites provide students in rural areas with the opportunity to obtain their two-year practical nursing diploma in their hometown while avoiding a long commute, Hargreaves said.
It also encourages students after graduation to continue working in rural areas across the province.
“Folks that couldn’t otherwise leave their home to go to school, maybe single parents, parents themselves, are able to take the training in their community and the benefit is that they’ll stay in their own community,” she said.
First-year nursing student Candace Law has a family and said she was relieved to get accepted into the program while it was still being offered in her hometown of Dauphin.
“I’ve always had an interest in nursing but it wasn’t offered in my local area at the time and that made it very difficult,” Law said.
Although Dauphin’s site received 75 applications, it could only accept 25, which is the number of students the nursing sites can host, she said.
“We need more rural sites ... there’s a huge interest,” Law said. “It’s important for people who have families and can’t travel.”
ACC has offered its practical nursing program in rural rotating sites since 1999, in addition to its permanent sites at campuses in Brandon and Winnipeg.
The demand was so high when the program first started in Winnipeg that within it’s first two months, it had already racked up a four-year waiting list, Hargreaves said.
ACC is currently working on eliminating those on a wait list with plans to start accepting more applications for the program starting Feb. 1.
Proposals to host a rural practical nursing site are due Jan. 6 and will be assessed based on labour market demand, health care partnerships, available facilties, student demand and student experience. ACC plans to open the student application process for the three sites in April.
There are currently rural practical nursing sites offered through ACC in Portage la Prairie, Glenboro/Cypress River and Dauphin.
Over the years, ACC has also provided classes in Killarney, Carmen, Russell, Boissevain, The Pas and Neepawa to name a few.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 4, 2013