New Brunswick invests in Université de Moncton to expand its nursing program

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick to provide funding to university for more nurse practitioner seats'
New Brunswick to provide funding to university for more nurse practitioner seats
WATCH: New Brunswick plans to train more nurse practitioners. The province is providing funding the Universite de Moncton to expand its nurse practitioner program. As hospitals continue to grapple with staffing shortages, nurses graduating from this program could help fill this gap. Zack Power reports – May 8, 2023

The provincial government is allocating $970,00 to open up nine more nursing seats at the Université de Moncton nurse practitioner program. The expansion means 12 students will be able to graduate annually, making it a full-time program.

The announcement comes as the province grapples with hospital patient overflow and staffing shortages.

According to Health Minister Bruce Fitch, the province is currently around 25 nurse practitioners short of the 175 positions across New Brunswick. Fitch said he’d “hire them right away” if they applied.

He’s hoping to use this announcement to fill that void across the province.

“We’re not just throwing money at the problem but making sure there are real results. That’s why we added 85 seats for a total of 166 RNs that will be graduating,” said Fitch, speaking to the media at the Université de Moncton.

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“We’ll find the employees so that the nursing home can open up the beds, and the individuals can move into those beds.”

According to students in the program, class sizes sit at around nine students, as the university expected an increase in seats. Officials from the school told Global News there are currently no students on the wait list but expect more applicants for the next academic session.

The school told Global News they’ve had a high interest in the program. Zack Power / Global News

Those students have been working with the regional health authorities to find work after their schooling.

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One student, Veronique DeGarie, told Global News she has been in the part-time program at the Université de Moncton, saying that she’s excited for the wave of students to come into the program.

She’s working as a registered nurse but will transition to a registered nurse practitioner in the near future.

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“I think as a nurse if you have an interest in being a nurse practitioner, it could be interesting being done in the full-time program,” said Veronique DeGarie on Monday.

“I think it’s generally a good time to graduate. I know a couple of years ago that wasn’t the case, there weren’t as many positions open as there are now.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a series of announcements in recent months, opening new nursing seats throughout the province by way of the University of New Brunswick and Beal University in Bangor, Maine.

“Vitalité Health Network welcomes the strengthening of the program,” stated Dr. France Desrosiers, president of the regional health authority, in a release.

“With their expanded scope of practice, nurse practitioners will have a key role to play in our transition to an integrated and collaborative primary health care model.”

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick premier says he wants to avoid bidding war for nurses amid N.S. bonus'
New Brunswick premier says he wants to avoid bidding war for nurses amid N.S. bonus

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