Premier Christy Clark today announced $450,000 to support the transition and planning work that will allow nursing students at the College of the Rockies to complete the four-year University of Victoria degree program in the region.
Premier Clark made the announcement during an address to the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce.
“We all know someone whose life has been improved because of a nurse’s expert care,” Premier Clark said. “Allowing nursing students to start and finish their nursing degree at Cranbrook will encourage more potential students to apply.”
The College of the Rockies, in partnership with the University of Victoria, delivers the University of Victoria bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program.
The College of the Rockies offers the first five semesters of studies (year one, year two, and first half of year three) and practical experience. Upon completion of the program in Cranbrook, College of the Rockies nursing students transfer to the University of Victoria to complete the final three semesters (part-year three and year four) of the nursing program.
“This is a particularly satisfying announcement for me, personally,” said Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett. “I helped the college go from first year training to second and then third year training, and yet I know we are still losing many of our nursing students to the Lower Mainland because they must take their final year in Victoria. Completing the degree here in the East Kootenay means more nurses will stay here, where we need them.”
A letter of intent has been signed between the College of the Rockies and the University of Victoria so that the entire bachelor of science in nursing may be taught and delivered in Cranbrook, beginning in January 2018.
“The College of the Rockies is thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver the full degree of the bachelor of science in nursing program,” said College of the Rockies president and CEO, David Walls. “Completing the entire degree at the college is something we’ve heard our students and community say is important. We are pleased that we are able to respond to their needs.”
The letter of intent outlines the process that the two institutions will use to develop a comprehensive memorandum of understanding that will ensure sustainable capacity for the College of the Rockies to deliver all four years of the UVic bachelor of science in nursing to students at its Cranbrook campus.
“Nursing is an incredibly rewarding career for many students,” said Patricia Marck, dean of human and social development at the University of Victoria. “The University of Victoria will continue to work with the College of the Rockies and we’re delighted that our partnership will allow students to complete the BSN degree closer to home.”
The College of the Rockies has been educating nurses for over 25 years and began offering the current program in partnership with the University of Victoria in September 2005. There are approximately 85 students enrolled across the five semesters.
“On behalf of the Canadian Nursing Association chapter at College of the Rockies, we are excited to hear about the full four-year BSN program being offered at the college. We believe that offering the full program in Cranbrook will benefit the community by helping to keep our locally-trained nurses in the East Kootenays. It will also benefit students who will no longer be required to move across the province to finish the program,” said Samantha Lomas and Krista Braeuer, College of the Rockies nursing students and Canadian Nursing Association delegates.
The Ministry of Advanced Education is supporting the transition with a one-time grant of $450,000 over three years to facilitate planning and transition.