North West College is continuing to grow.
The college announced they are now offering a brand-new program in 2019 for psychiatric nursing. The two-and-a-half-year diploma program will be delivered through blended learning, including classes, labs, and practicums. The entire program will be delivered in the Battlefords.
President and CEO at Northwest College, Jay Notay says that this has been in the works for quite some time. Some would have assumed that this came to be following the announcement of the new Saskatchewan Hospital, but the talks also pre-date that announcement.
The biggest impact that Notay sees is the ability for students to have the opportunity to continue their education at home in the Battlefords, rather than leaving and attending a larger post-secondary institution. Notay said there is a growing need for the position in the area, and successful graduates will be able to find work locally.
“It’s all very exciting,” he said. “It aligns with the direction in where the college is going, especially on the health side.”
The program runs from September 2019 to December 2021. It was a major goal of the colleges to make sure that they focus on health-related programs, which is integral in Notay’s eyes based on the landscape of the Battlefords' current job market.
This announcement adds to other programs that were previously announced. For instance, it was recently announced that the college would be offering the first year for students in the Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Saskatchewan.
This program will have direct entry into their second year at the U of S, and in the past, it used to be that students would take individual courses that stacked into credits at the larger institutions. With this program, it’s the first year of classes, plus the guaranteed direct entry, a first for the college.
What North West College is hoping to do is provide education to their students to grow within the local economy. Notay has held his current position since August, and has been focusing on assessing the college’s strengths and weaknesses since his hiring. They are also focusing on engaging with local sectors and determining the Battlefords’ economic needs to create opportunities moving forward.
Applications for the new program open Monday. Students will be accepted on a first-qualified basis. There are only 16 seats available for the course, and Notay has a message for interested applicants.
“We do anticipate that the program is going to fill very quickly,” he said. “I think people should take advantage of this opportunity.”
Following the graduation of the program, students will have the opportunity to write the Canadian Registered Psychiatric Nurses exam, register with the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan and apply for designation as a registered psychiatric nurse.
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