The Practical Nursing program at the Powell River Malaspina University-College campus is getting a lot of community support.
"It’s very popular. We last offered this program in 1995 and were pleased to get the funding to offer it again to meet the labour market need," said Carol Sansburn, Campus Coordinator.
The one-year program provides students with the theory and skills required to practice as a practical nurse in acute care, extended care, intermediate care and community settings.
This program is a direct result of a practical nursing shortage in Powell River and across British Columbia. Sansburn has been incredibly pleased with the response and support the program has received in the community.
"Clinical facilities like the Olive Devaud Residential Care Facility and the Evergreen Extended Care unit have been very supportive and have offered to provide supplies, space and clinical placements. They have offered to help us in any way we need because they want more qualified people working with them," she said.
Len Wegner, Resident Care Coordinator at Olive Devaud, is happy to lend so much support because the program is important to the Powell River community.
"There’s a big demand in our community and we’re always looking for licensed practical nurses. I started pushing for this program in Powell River because we needed some long term solutions to the shortage of nurses."
While the two facilities help the program as much as they can, Wegner says it’s really a win-win situation.
"In the last three years, we really noticed the nursing shortage and this program helps with that problem. It gives students an opportunity to further their career in nursing and helps with our long-term goals to keep people in the system," he said. "I’m really excited about the program and it’s great to see it happening."
So much support from the community has been very helpful, as the program has filled up quickly.
"We initially had 60 people who expressed interest in this program, so we almost had a ready-made class," said Sansburn. "We are very pleased, as a post-secondary provider, to be able to offer this much needed program to our community."
While the Powell River Practical Nursing program is full, there is still space in Malaspina’s Nanaimo program. Students also have the option to enter the Home Support/Resident Care Attendant (HSRCA) program, a six month program available on both campuses. In this program, students are trained to work more with the frail and the elderly. This program is offered every year at both campuses because resident care jobs are in very high demand and because 100% of program graduates go on to jobs in the industry.
For more information on the Practical Nursing Program (students can still put their names on the program waitlist) or the HSRCA Program, contact Malaspina University-College in Powell River at (604)485-2878 or in Nanaimo at (250)740-6410 or visit www.mala.ca.