Dalhousie University is expanding the number of prioritized seats in its Bachelor of Science Nursing Program for Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian students.
A minimum of 40 seats in the program, both for people directly out of high school and for those with prior university experience, will be prioritized for Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian students, the school said in a press release.
It will set aside 20 seats for each of the under-represented groups. Priority will be given to applicants from Nova Scotia.
“In an effort to support our health equity goals, through these prioritized seats, we aim to enrich our student body and learning environment, while also providing Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian students greater access to the profession of nursing,” said Dalhousie’s School of Nursing Director, Dr. Ruth Martin-Misener.
Martin-Misener added that research shows there are positive health outcomes when patients receive care from nurses that they identify as having similar backgrounds and identities as them.
The prioritized seats will be part of the 2021-22 admissions cycle for students expected to begin the nursing program in September 2022.
There are a total of 192 seats available for the nursing program on Dalhousie’s Halifax campus and 33 seats available on the Yarmouth campus.
The school also said it has established an equity, diversity and inclusion committee with the aim of strengthening its equitable admission policies and practices to increase admission of priority groups.
Dalhousie has also created job postings to hire two student advisor positions, with one supporting Mi’kmaw and Indigenous students and the other supporting African Nova Scotian and Black students.
“These 40 priority seats and increased support systems are strategies to create an inclusive, equitable learning and working environment, to attract and support members from under-represented groups to enter and succeed in the School of Nursing and the nursing profession,” said Martin-Misener.
Late last month, the province said it will offer a job to every nursing graduate in Nova Scotia over the next five years.