Bow Valley College fast-tracks health-care students’ graduation in response to COVID-19

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Medical students in Alberta help with COVID-19 contact tracing. File / Global News

Bow Valley College is fast-tracking graduation for its practical nursing and health-care aide students in an effort to get more workers into the field to continue the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last few weeks, as the pandemic continued to spread across Alberta, the college has worked to assess if some students would be eligible to jump into the workforce ahead of the regular schedule.

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After reviewing the criteria, officials said more than 100 practical nursing students currently meet the entry-level competencies and standards of practice, along with several health-care aide students.

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Dean of the college’s School of Health and Wellness, Nora MacLachlan, said while they may be entering the workforce earlier than expected, the college is working hard to ensure the students remain safe during the expedited process.

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“In the months to come, Bow Valley College will ensure that students and faculty are not placed in unsafe situations and that they comply with legislation and standards of practice for infection prevention and control,” MacLachlan said.

READ MORE: Alberta medical students help with COVID-19 contact tracing

The college credits its quick transition from in-person classes to online learning as one of the reasons students were able to gain the training they needed to fast-track their graduation.

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Officials noted that within the first 10 days of closing its campus to students, the college had a 98 per cent success rate in moving to online courses, with more than 600 instructors remotely teaching classes to more than 9,000 students.