BU, ACC nursing seats boosted by funding


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The province is investing millions of dollars into nursing seats at post-secondary institutions across Manitoba, including Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College.

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This article was published 16/12/2021 (540 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The province is investing millions of dollars into nursing seats at post-secondary institutions across Manitoba, including Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College.

The government will provide $19.5 million to add 259 nurse training seats starting this year at five colleges and universities as part of its multi-year plan to create nearly 400 seats.

That funding includes 55 licensed practical nursing seats through Assiniboine Community College in Portage la Prairie and rural rotating sites, as well as 32 registered nursing and registered psychiatric nursing seats at Brandon University.

Mikaela MacKenzie/Winnipeg Free Press
Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon.
Mikaela MacKenzie/Winnipeg Free Press Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon.

The announcement was made Wednesday at a press conference with Premier Heather Stefanson, Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Wayne Ewasko and Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon.

Mark Frison, the president of Assiniboine Community College, was pleased with the funding announcement. The college is currently funded to take in 235 nurses every second year. The investment will create an additional 110 spots in that same time frame — an expansion of 50 per cent. This allows the college to offer 25 seats to each of the three rural rotating sites and an additional 35 seats every year at its permanent campus in Portage la Prairie. This means it will be able to accept 110 new people into the practical nursing program every two years.

Frison explained that the government looks at the total seats and divides them by two because it is a cohort of year one and year two, giving them 55 as an official number.

The rural rotating sites — located in the Prairie Mountain, Southern and Interlake-Eastern health regions — are what the school is really excited about, he said.

“It’s even more encouraging knowing this will mean we can have far more people we can take in,” Frison said. “We can get training closer to where people live, work and play. The rural areas also tend to be where the use of agency nurses is higher. Hopefully, we can also address overtime with this.”

The college is in talks with the provincial government to add additional seats at their campuses in Winnipeg and Brandon.

David Docherty, the president of Brandon University, said with the funding, the school can now make some changes on campus to make sure there’s more classroom and lab space for nursing students when they come next fall.

Docherty praised the province for listening to the university’s needs and for responding. Now it’s time to begin planning for the next cohort to arrive in September.

“I would say that’s a really nice problem to have,” he said. “It’s a problem presidents love because we’re getting more students in, we’re providing more opportunities for students across the province, educating more Manitoba learners and making a difference in health care that desperately needs it. There are far worse problems than being under pressure to get classrooms and labs ready.”

The rest of the seats include an additional 15 combined bachelor of nursing and licensed practical nursing seats at Université de Saint-Boniface and an additional 120 registered nursing seats at the University of Manitoba.

There are currently more than 800 nursing seats in Manitoba offered at six publicly funded post-secondary institutions. The expansion of 259 seats is scheduled to begin this year, with each post-secondary institution to finalize specific details.

Premier Heather Stefanson noted the government is also investing in 37 additional nursing seats at University College of the North, which was announced yesterday.

The funding will support the expansion by enabling sites to invest in areas such as equipment, classroom renovations and instructors to support the additional seats. Ewasko said additional seats would also be discussed with all post-secondary institutions currently offering licensed practical nurse and registered nurse programs, including RRC Polytech.

Gordon said the announcement builds on the province’s commitment to create close to 400 new seats over the next several years, as well as other initiatives to support nurses in Manitoba.

“We know additional seats are required to ensure we support the labour needs of our health-care system, and the addition of these seats builds on other commitments to address the nursing shortage in Manitoba,” she said.

“This includes recent incentives to increase intensive care unit nurse capacity, supporting internationally educated nurse applicants to begin practising in Manitoba, introducing the province’s first undergraduate nursing employee program and adding 60 new full-time nursing positions to ICUs at Grace, St. Boniface and Health Sciences Centre hospitals in Winnipeg and in Brandon.”

» kmckinley@brandonsun.com

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