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N.B. government announces funding for program combating nursing shortage

N.B. government announces funding for program to train nurses
WATCH: The government said the program will help address the nursing shortage in the province. Megan Yamoah reports.

To help address the nursing shortage in the province, the University of New Brunswick has partnered with the provincial government to reintroduce the bachelor of nursing bridge program that was piloted in 2013 at the Saint John campus.

“It was very successful, really popular with the LPNs in the province,” said Geri Geldart, the vice president of the Horizon Health Network Clinical Services.

The program was so successful that the province is providing up to 500-thousand dollars for it, which will combine classroom learning and clinical experience.

“It will help to cover the cost of the clinical placements, which is an extra cost feature for nursing programs compared to other academic programs,” said Petra Hauf, the UNB Vice president of Saint John Campus.

The province also said that the program and the need to address the nurse shortage are some of the government’s main priorities.

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“We know that we need to recruit more nurses. We need them in our nursing homes, we need them in our hospitals we need them in our communities, and so this is just one part of the strategy, one part of a very big picture,” said Dorothy Shephard – NB Minister of Social Development.

“I’m going to cabinet to try and get a ten year agreement, I don’t have approval for that now, but we want to get results first before we box ourselves in,” said Trevor Holder – NB Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour.
Trevor Holder, Petra Hauf, Paul Mazerolle
Trevor Holder, Petra Hauf, Paul Mazerolle. Megan Yamoah / Global News

24 Licensed Practical Nursing college graduates will be eligible to apply for the program when it begins in January 2020.

“We would love to see an increase in number of seats for New Brunswick students.” said Geldart.

“It’s one step forward and hopefully we can learn how that experience goes and look forward to expanding that subject to government funding in the future,” said Paul Mazerolle, the University of New Brunswick president and Vice-Chancellor.

The program is designed to recognize the experience and education of the LPNs while addressing the knowledge and training differences to that of a registered nurse.

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“There won’t be any one initiative that will solve the full need, we need to be looking at a whole variety of options for improving the number of nurses that work in New Brunswick,” said Geldart.