Aboriginal Initiatives Northern Nursing Program
Northern Nursing Program
In September 2012, the College of Nursing began delivering the full, four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program to students in Île-à-la-Crosse and La Ronge. This was a response to a request from the Northern Labour Market Committee, an inter-agency group of northern Saskatchewan stakeholders, to address the health professional shortage and high nursing turnover rates in the Northern Administrative District (NAD). Through our program, we hope to educate a northern nursing workforce that will provide culturally competent care to northern residents and help minimize staff turnover in the northern health regions and First Nations Health Centres.
The College of Nursing works in colloboration with Northlands College to provide student services and classroom space for our northern students. For more information on the northern nursing program, please call Northlands College at 1-888-311-1185, or the University of Saskatchewan Aboriginal Nursing Advisor located in Prince Albert.
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Northern Nursing Program FAQs
Like all University of Saskatchewan nursing students, northern students must complete a pre-professional first year of Arts and Science courses before being admitted into the College for three more years of Nursing classes. In the NAD, the pre-professional year can be taken at Northlands College sites in La Ronge, Île-à-la-Crosse, Buffalo Narrows or Creighton, as well as at the NORTEP/NORPAC campus in La Ronge.
Students must have English A30 and B30, Chemistry 30, Biology 30 and Math 30 (Foundations of Math or Pre-Calculus or Math B30, C30 is recommended) high school courses to be admitted into the pre-professional first year.
In Île-à-la-Crosse, the program is offered at the Integrated Services Centre, between the hospital and the high school. In La Ronge, classes are offered at the main Northlands College campus and the clinical skills lab is offered at the Air Ronge site.
Students will experience a variety of clinical placements throughout the program within an assortment of settings, such as schools, health centres and hospitals. To obtain the appropriate experience needed to become a Registered Nurse, however, northern students will need to occasionally be placed at larger hospitals in the central part of the province, such as North Battleford and Meadow Lake, for up to four weeks.
The College of Nursing has campuses in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina and distributes our program to Yorkton and two northern sites - Île-à-la-Crosse and La Ronge. All students learn through a “blended-delivery” model, meaning classes are taken face-to-face and by video conferencing, web conferencing, blackboard online and lecture capture. In addition to these tools, the northern nursing program uses an innovative technology to teach students clinical skills: Remote Presence (RP) Telementoring. We use the RP7i, a ‘robot’, to allow our campus-based faculty to see, hear, interact with and provide instruction to northern students. At the same time, a local lab instructor will be on site to support the students’ learning. Tutors are also available to all nursing students.
Research conducted on the use of RP in clinical practice has shown that patients have an equivalent satisfaction level with assessment by RP as face-to-face. Our nursing students have become very comfortable with the RP in a short time and we believe it is an effective tool conducive to teaching and learning.
The College of Nursing’s Master of Nursing (MN) program is online, so students can take it from anywhere they have access to a computer and the internet. Many of our MN students continue to practice part-time, while enrolled in the program. Health regions in rural and remote areas may want to support two to three nurses taking the program at once, allowing the health region to form a support group and learning community.
Similarly, the Nurse Practitioner (NP) program can be taught largely through internet-based web conferencing, making it accessible to students across the province.