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Provincial money to add 30 nursing spots at RRC Polytechnic in Manitoba

Click to play video: 'Provincial money to add 30 nursing spots at RRC Polytechnic in Manitoba' Provincial money to add 30 nursing spots at RRC Polytechnic in Manitoba
The Manitoba government is spending $830,000 to create 30 additional nurse training spots at Red River College Polytechnic – Jun 8, 2022

The Manitoba government is spending $830,000 to create 30 additional nurse training spots at Red River College Polytechnic.

Health Minster Audrey Gordon and Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes announced the spending Wednesday.

Read more: Manitoba Nurses Union sounds alarm over nursing position shortage

“Investing in nurses who are an integral part of our health-care team is building our province’s health human resource capacity,” Gordon said in a provincial release.

“We have been working closely with post-secondary institutions to sustainably increase the capacity of existing nursing programs throughout the province.”

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Last summer the Progressive Conservative government announced plans to add 400 new nursing seats at post-secondary institutions across the province.

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Wednesday’s announcement brings the total number of new seats created since the July 2021 pledge to 289, at a cost of more than $30 million, the province said.

Read more: Manitoba to increase nursing grads by 50 per cent, offer support to internationally trained nurses

Health data released late last month showed a current shortage in nursing positions has emergency rooms across Winnipeg buckling.

Grace Hospital had a 28-per cent vacancy rate for nursing positions near the end of May, and the Health Sciences Centre sat at 18 per cent.

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Darelene Jackson, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union, has said nurses are experiencing unsustainable workloads and mandated overtime, which, combined with relatively lackluster salaries and benefits, has them seeking employment in other provinces.

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The ministers said work underway to further expand training to meet the commitment made last year.

Read more: Winnipeg ER wait times inched up in April, according to Shared Health data

The latest funding will be used to renovate learning spaces at RRC Polytechnic, add lab equipment and support new staff, supplies and other operational needs, the ministers said Wednesday.

Red River College Polytechnic president and CEO Fred Meier said the school anticipates all 30 seats will be filled by the end of the 2022-23 school year.

— with files from Global News’ Keesha Harewood

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