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Province hopes new undergrad nurse employee program can help shortage

Click to play video: 'Hospitals to welcome nursing students to help with shortage' Hospitals to welcome nursing students to help with shortage
It's a big step meant to ease staffing concerns in hospitals, but just how soon will the new program start and how many will be involved. Global's Rosanna Hempel tells us more – Nov 15, 2021

More help is on the way to shore up nursing staff as the province continues to struggle with severe shortages.

Hospitals throughout Manitoba will soon welcome third and fourth-year nursing students as they join care teams within surgical, medicine and medical health units. The new position is designated as an undergraduate nurse employee.

Shared Health Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa says it will not only provide real-life experience, but the hands-on learning will add support staff to help care during Manitoba’s 4th wave.

“It’s paid work experience while they are completing their studies,” Siragusa said. “Under the supervision of regulated nursing professionals, these students will work as casual staff on in-patient units across the province.”

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The move follows in the footsteps of B.C, Alberta and Ontario.

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Eligible students will earn $27 an hour for casual work, with the potential to go full-time during summer and winter holidays.

Siragusa says they’re planning to get new hires in by the end of the year.

“We are starting with just over 60 students across the province to be placed on medicine, surgery and mental health units,” Siragusa said.

“But when we actually look at the potential of how many nursing students could be eligible in third and fourth year, it’ll be closer to 500 nurses.”

To be eligible, they have to be enrolled in an approved nursing program with at least 450 hours of clinical practice already under their belt.

They will also need to have completed a clinical placement in one of the surgical, medicine and medical health units.

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