February 22, 2022 – 1:30pm

Expansion addresses community need for more nurses

Vancouver Island University (VIU) is expanding the number of nursing seats in three programs, thanks to provincial government funding announced on Sunday, February 20, 2022.

Starting in fall 2022, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program will increase the number of new students into the program to 80 from 72 annually. The provincial government has also provided funding for two programs that will help people currently working as health-care assistants and licensed practical nurses ladder up into the next level of nursing competencies.

“Nurses are integral to health care,” says Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, in a press release. “Apart from providing life-saving care, nurses monitor and assess patients’ conditions, act as patient advocates, educate and inspire. Expanding the number of nursing seats means more students can pursue their dreams and launch a career that makes a difference in people’s lives every day.”

This investment is a key pillar of the StrongerBC’s Economic Plan, which aims to close the skills gap with a generational commitment to accelerate talent development and skills training for British Columbians. Read more in this BC Government News announcement.

In May 2022, the Practical Nursing (PN) program will begin the bridge-in program into the BSN program with 24 new students. Graduates of a Licensed Practical Nursing program who have gained work experience will be able to apply to take this program to become Registered Nurses.

In addition, starting in May 2023, 24 students who have successfully completed the Health Care Assistant program will be able to apply to take a new program into the PN program to become Licensed Practical Nurses.

Dr. Patricia O’Hagan, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Human Services at VIU, says the two pathway programs, which are funded to run every two years, will mean 48 additional nursing students, who upon graduation will join the health-care workforce to address the critical needs of communities.

“We are grateful to the provincial government for providing this funding to prepare nurses to serve in our communities and fill a critical need across the province,” she says.