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Source: University of Northern British Columbia

Northern Communities Aim to Make Themselves Attractive to Future Nurses

October 24, 2006

Four northern BC communities have been participating in a project that is intended to make the communities more welcoming to Nursing students who are participating in clinical placements.

Burns Lake, Fraser Lake, Mackenzie, and Dawson Creek are the first participants in the "Feeling at Home" project. Each of them has upgraded accommodations for visiting students, connected the students with local hosts/ambassadors, or provided goods and services to make the students’ stay in the community more enjoyable.

"Over the past few years, our Nursing program has nearly tripled in size and added teaching sites in Terrace and Quesnel," says Ian Blue, Chair of the UNBC Nursing program. "This means we also have to place more students in communities all across the region – often in communities where they don’t know anyone – to gain clinical experience in hospitals and health clinics. The goal of this project is to encourage communities to attract and host students, providing them with a positive clinical experience that will instill a desire within the students to pursue a career in rural communities after graduation."

The "Feeling at Home" project is involving Northern Health, the College of New Caledonia, Northwest Community College, and UNBC. It started in the spring of this year when communities were first informed of the project, which has been funded by the Government of BC through the Ministry of Advanced Education’s Practice Education Innovation Fund. The four communities that are participating in this pilot project implemented their student support proposals over the summer and early fall and welcomed students in early October. There are currently two students in Burns Lake, two in Dawson Creek, and one each in Fraser Lake and Mackenzie. Each of the communities will also be hosting students in a second clinical rotation that will begin in November. More Nursing students will go to these communities in February and March.

"The early experiences of the communities and the students will be discussed at a seminar in early November," says Cynthia Brunt, Project Coordinator for the Feeling at Home project. The seminar will be held at UNBC on November 6, from 9am to 4pm in the Bentley Centre. "We’re hoping that other communities begin to participate and think of ways to make their community more attractive to students. Ultimately, it’s about providing positive experiences and these kinds of activities may be really important in enabling communities to attract more health professionals."

The November 6 seminar is open to the media and community representatives.

Cynthia Brunt, Project Coordinator, Feeling at Home project – 250.612.3746
Rob van Adrichem, Director of Media and Public Relations, UNBC - 250.960.5622



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