More nursing seats are coming to British Columbia.
On Sunday, the B.C. government announced that it will be funding the addition of 602 new nursing seats at 17 post-secondary institutions across the province, including the University of Victoria.
The new seats include 362 registered nursing seats, 40 registered psychiatric nursing seats, 20 nurse practitioner seats, and 180 licensed practical nurse seats at 17 public post-secondary institutions.
“Increasing the supply of nurses is crucial, but we must also support the next generation of leaders in nursing, to mentor and train nursing students of tomorrow,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, on Sunday.
The province says the new seats will support health-care assistants who want to train as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), and LPNs looking to move into a career as registered nurse.
Camosun College, in partnership with the University of Victoria, will get 16 new seats for
registered nursing, a pathway for license practical nurses (LPNs)
North Island College will get 8 and 24 HCA-to-LPN laddering seats, wit the first intake in January 2023.
Vancouver Island University will get eight seats and 24 LPN-to-RN laddering.
UVic will receive five nurse practitioner seats, pathway for Masters-trained nurses.
Additionally, the province says it is providing $475,000 to support graduate education at the University of Victoria and other post-secondary schools.
“This funding will aid faculty leadership development in the field. We know that the skills needed to qualify nurses has never been greater,” said Kahlon.
Aman Grewal, BC Nurses Union president, said while the announcement is a step in the right direction, there is still a massive shortage of nurses in the province.
“We have 5,180 nursing vacancies in B.C. We’re still way behind,” said Grewal. “There are many many people who tell us about the long waitlists that are there for students to get into nursing school so if we can capture all those people trying to become nurses, let’s bring them on.”
In a statement to CHEK News the University of Victoria says they welcome the provincial government investment. At UVic, this will mean new seats for nurse practitioners and graduate-level education. The first intake is planned for the coming September.
“The University of Victoria welcomes the provincial government investment. At UVic, this will mean new seats for nurse practitioners and graduate-level education. The first intake is planned for the coming September.”
According to Statistics Canada, there were indeed 5,180 nursing vacancies in B.C. as of Sept. 2021.
Over the next decade, the B.C. government anticipates 143,000 job openings in the health-care and social service sectors.