LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Practical nurses trained in Manitoba stay in Manitoba
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On Oct. 7, in the Sound Off section of The Brandon Sun, a writer stated, “I would like to know what percentage [of nurses] stay in Manitoba after graduation.” While I don’t typically respond to the comments section, it was a timely question on the heels of Canada West Foundation’s report: “The Young and the Restless” on youth mobility.
Well, according to our graduate followup survey, for those graduating from Assiniboine Community College’s practical nursing program, 96 per cent are still living in Manitoba four years after graduation. Our college’s annual graduate followup surveys are conducted by a third-party (currently Insightrix).
Assiniboine trains over 90 per cent of the practical nurses in the province. This academic year, we have nursing programs running in Winnipeg, Brandon, Dauphin, Portage la Prairie, Virden, Morden, Arborg, Berens River First Nation, Norway House Cree Nation, and Providence University College.
In recent years, our college has also offered our nursing program in Melita, Russell, and Peguis First Nation.
This past year, our college received investment for additional seats from the Province of Manitoba for rural rotating nursing programs and to double our intake in Portage la Prairie. This allows us to take in 110 more nursing students every two years. That brings us to 485 students we can take into regular programs in a two-year period.
In addition to those, we run additional programs by contract with partners, like the current programs in Berens River First Nation and Norway House Cree Nation.
The recent government investment in additional nursing seats at our college and elsewhere in the province was very welcome and helps move the ball forward on starting to address the nursing shortage. This expansion of funded seats represented the single largest funded program expansion for colleges and universities in at least 15 years and the largest ever for our college in a single year over our 61-year history.
We know that government is still considering proposals for the second phase of the expansion, and we eagerly await those decisions as Assiniboine knows it could contribute more to the effort. The next phase will hopefully see more nursing seats added in Brandon and Winnipeg as a starting point.
Licensed practical nurses in Manitoba have the broadest scope of practice of all PNs across Canada and are critical to health-care advancement in Manitoba. This broad scope enables LPNs to safely provide competent nursing practice in all areas of the health-care system such as emergency departments, hospital wards, community/home care settings, long-term care facilities, management and education. We are very proud of the programs on offer at Assiniboine for practical nursing, which is the largest single area of programming for us.
Most importantly, people we train stay in the province to work. Further, the program has been successfully delivered in many smaller communities which helps to support areas where labour supply can be the most strained.
President, Assiniboine Community College