College Of The Rockies Set To Graduate First Cohort Of Nursing Students
College of the Rockies will celebrate a milestone at the 43rd annual commencement ceremony on June 7. The first cohort of students to complete the entire four years of their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree will be eligible to walk across the stage and be recognized for this significant achievement.
The College has been educating nurses for over 25 years and has been in partnership with the University of Victoria to offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) since September 2005. Prior to January 2018, students completed their first five semesters at College of the Rockies, before moving to Victoria to complete their final three semesters.
With an aging population and growing retirement rates, WorkBC forecasts a need for almost 24,000 registered nurses in the province in the next 10 years, 500 in the Kootenay region alone.
As students are now able to complete the entire degree at the College, graduates are in a better position to be able to fill the growing need for healthcare workers in the East Kootenay. Of the 14 graduates of the program, several have already been offered jobs in the region.
“Nurses who have been educated locally, then establish their careers here, have a better understanding of the health needs of our region and are well-prepared to provide health services to rural and remote communities,” says Dean of Health and Human Services, Norma Sherret. “Additionally, our campus is located on Ktunaxa territory and, through our partnerships with the Nation, our nursing students have had the benefit of learning from this local Indigenous perspective, expanding their world view and enriching their readiness to be practicing nurses.”
Cat MacLean, originally from Nelson, B.C., is one of the graduates of the program. She’s grateful to have been able to complete her degree while still enjoying the Kootenay lifestyle.
“It meant the world to me to be able to go to school in a place that allowed me to walk out the door after class and have immediate access to bike and hiking trails,” she said. “Being part of a smaller class also meant that I always felt like more than a number. I received so much support from the faculty and my classmates. It really helped me to thrive as a student.”
Immediately after completing the program, MacLean was hired to work on the medical floor at East Kootenay Regional Hospital.