May 2, 2013 8:02 pm
Updated: September 24, 2013 10:00 pm

Students voice concerns over nursing program at CDI College

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EDMONTON- A group of nursing students from CDI College is speaking out, concerned over the quality of their education.

In December 2012, Practice Permits for seven Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), who graduated from CDI, were suspended by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA). Since then, Bow Valley College, which oversees the program at CDI, has stepped in to re-test those nurses and make sure other students are being properly trained.

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Last week, 15 students who were enrolled in the 18-month LPN course at CDI walked out of school. They say the situation at the college hasn’t improved since concerns arose last year.

The students began their course in July and say everything was great for the first few months.

“The end of October things started to fall apart,” said Jenna Bath, a former CDI nursing student.

Bath says their clinical placements were cancelled without explanation and several instructors quit, leaving students to teach themselves at times.

“We’ve gone for weeks at a time sitting there doing absolutely nothing with no instruction, no teacher, sitting in a common area. For over two weeks were told we had to be there, attendance was mandatory,” she explained. “These things shouldn’t be happening in a college where you’re paying $30,000 to get an education.”

“We were sitting in a classroom with no instruction, but those hours are still being counted as instructional hours towards our program. We’re not learning anything, how can you count that as an hour?” added Chelsea-Lynn Ketsa, another former nursing student. “I paid $30,000 for an education, I don’t intend to teach myself.”

In December, though an internal decision between Bow Valley and CDI, enrollment to the course was suspended.

“Both of us agreed that we need to focus on our current student population. So we agreed not to enroll anymore students into the program at that time,” said CDI College’s Kyle Ferbey, director of the Edmonton City Centre campus.

During that time Bow Valley College took the lead in testing students. However, students say that brought to light further issues.

“The level that Bow Valley is testing at is not the level that CDI is teaching at,” said Ketsa.

The students say they addressed their concerns with the college, but felt their questions continually went unanswered. They say their education wasn’t being taken seriously and worried nobody would hire them once they graduated, so decided to withdraw from the program.

“We were told to go through a chain of command and we did and we were sitting in the same position we were eight months ago,” explained another former nursing student, Kelsey Walsh. “If I came out of there as a nurse at all, I definitely wouldn’t have felt good about my skills or confident in myself at all.”

“We all wasted over 10 months,” added Bath.

CLPNA and Alberta Advanced Education say they’re watching the college closely. Ferbey admits the school has had some instructor turnaround, but maintains their staff is fully qualified and students are getting a proper education.

“We’ve reviewed our staffing, we’ve made a lot of additional hires,” he said. “And I can confidently say we have a very, very strong program right now.”

“We have more than sufficient, very competent, very qualified instructors that both meet the qualifications from Alberta Advanced Education, as well as Bow Valley and CDI College.”

He says Bow Valley is working everyday to ensure all standards are met.

“(Students) are all going to graduate and they’re going to be competent and safe nurses. They’re going to be able to write their national exams and become licensed.”

Zoltan Pastulovic, a current student who stayed in the program, says he’s glad he was patient, because earlier this week he received confirmation of his clinical placements.

“It still frustrated me, but I understood that it takes time to fix the issues that were set forth.”

CLPNA says six of the seven LPNs who had their licences suspended have since completed the program and have had their temporary licences reinstated.

With files from Julie Matthews.

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