By Kylie Kelso, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist, University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing
Since 2012, the University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Nursing has been offering the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at various locations throughout Saskatchewan. At the end of 2023, USask Nursing announced the addition of two distributed nursing sites – Lloydminster and North Battleford.
Beginning September 2024, students interested in taking the BSN program will be able to complete their entire degree at USask campuses in Saskatoon and Prince Albert or at nursing sites in La Ronge, Île-à-la-Crosse, Yorkton, Lloydminster, and North Battleford.
“We have listened to the residents of Saskatchewan and expanded to locations in the province where students previously could not access our BSN program,” said USask College of Nursing dean Dr. Solina Richter (DCur). “It is important our program offering is inclusive of rural areas of the province that have been previously underserved.”
The College of Nursing Learn Where You Live model has proven to be successful at distributed sites in La Ronge, Île-à-la-Crosse, and Yorkton. Since the first students entered the BSN program in La Ronge and Île-à-la-Crosse in September 2012, 66 nursing students have completed their degree in northern Saskatchewan. Since starting the program in Yorkton in 2014, 81 students have graduated.
When nursing students complete their degree in their community, the majority of graduates stay and practice there. Our northern communities need northern nurses, who are familiar with the culture and people. Saskatchewan has a large Indigenous population, particularly in northern Saskatchewan.
“In order to provide quality nursing care, we must actively contribute to a representative nursing workforce that is responsive to the needs of the province,” said Dr. Richter.
“We have a long history of Indigenous student success and are recognized as having the highest number of self-declared Indigenous nursing students in the country. 16.6% of seats in the BSN program are reserved for Indigenous applicants.”
By expanding to Lloydminster and North Battleford, the College of Nursing aims to ensure all students in Saskatchewan have access to registered nursing education. When these students complete their nursing degree, they will help to fill unmet registered nursing workforce needs in northwest Saskatchewan.
“By offering the BSN program at our distributed nursing sites, we are giving students the opportunity to learn where they live in La Ronge, Île-à-la-Crosse, Yorkton, Lloydminster, and North Battleford,” adds Dr. Richter.
“We are decreasing the likelihood of these rural and remote communities experiencing a registered nursing shortage, as the students who complete their nursing education in these communities, will likely practice in the community once licensed.”
The USask BSN is a 1+3 program. Students take their pre-professional year at USask campuses in Saskatoon and Prince Albert, at the University of Regina, or at a number of regional colleges throughout the province. The remaining three years are completed through the College of Nursing in Saskatoon (USask Campus), Prince Albert (USask Prince Albert Campus), La Ronge orÎle-à-la-Crosse (Northlands College), Yorkton (Suncrest College), Lloydminster (Lakeland College), and North Battleford (North West College).
For more information on the University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing, please visit nursing.usask.ca.
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