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. 

The College of Nursing has an annual intake of 15 seats in the North:  five in Île-à-la-Crosse and 10 in La Ronge. These seats are reserved for northern residents (those who have lived in the North for at least half their life or 10 years). The College of Nursing also reserves 16.6% of its seats for Aboriginal applicants; however, the northern program has a much higher Aboriginal student representation than that. Most applicants of Aboriginal descent will be accepted into the Northern Nursing Program if they achieve the minimum requirements, rather than competing within the entire provincial applicant pool.

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.

Our northern students pay the same tuition costs as students in our other locations.  Students typically use a variety of funding sources to pay for their education, including Band funding for First Nation students, GDI funding for Metis and non-status Indians, student loans, scholarships & bursaries and their own savings. Northern nursing students should be aware that the Government of Saskatchewan provides student loan forgiveness of up to $4,000 a year, to a maximum of $20,000, for nurse and nurse practitioners working in rural/remote communities in Saskatchewan.

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.