New Technology Brings Nursing Education to the North

The College of Nursing unveiled new technology on June 25th to help students learn without having to leave home, an attempt by the college to address the growing need for nurses in Saskatchewan's North.

By using Remote Presence (RP) technology, nursing students living in northern communities will have access to faculty and mentors. This is one of several technologies used in the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing curriculum offered this coming fall. "The goal of launching Remote Presence technology is to address the critical shortage of healthcare workers in rural and remote communities," said Lorna Butler, Professor and Dean, College of Nursing. "The pursuit of post-secondary education should not be disadvantaged by geography. This technology will help us overcome many of the barriers to accessing continuing education and health services, by offering students the opportunity to obtain a first-class education without leaving their communities."

The RP7i model the university is using is an independently mobile robot with an articulated flat-screen monitor for visual display, a dual camera configuration and full on-board audio, for a seamless and immersive experience. The technology allows faculty experts to engage with learners at remote sites to teach and assess clinical competencies. Remote Presence in nursing education removes geographical barriers and supports students to learn where they live.

The remote technology robotic endpoints have been deployed to the Northlands College Nursing Skills Lab in Air Ronge, SK and the Keewatin Yatthé Regional Health Authority at St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Centre in Île-à-la-Crosse, SK. The remote technology robots will allow faculty members located at the three U of S College of Nursing sites in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert to "beam in" to the northern sites on demand. These northern communities are excited to be the first in Canada to use this innovative technology for nursing education.

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