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Strategy, Education Changes to Better Support Nurses

A new nursing strategy and an improved undergraduate nursing education program will help Nova Scotia attract and keep the nurses it needs well into the future.

“Nurses are the heart and soul of patient care across our province. We know many are nearing retirement, and we need to ensure we have the right number and mix of nurses to care for Nova Scotians for generations to come,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine.

“Under this new nursing strategy, we will support all nurses to provide the care they are educated and licensed to give. New RN graduates will be better prepared to enter the workforce, and we’ll support experienced nurses to continue to grow and develop in the career they love.”

The province consulted over 500 nurses, both online and in person. The new strategy will address their concerns by:

— paying for experienced nurses to spend dedicated time mentoring new nurses
— increasing the number of specialty programs to train nurses in areas like operating rooms, critical care, and mental health and addictions
— continuing to support professional development for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse practitioners — but targeted on topics like improving practice environments, developing clinical leadership, developing strong teams and injury prevention
— targeting co-op placement funding for student nurses to areas where they are most needed
— creating a fund for nurses who have innovative ideas to improve their workplaces and patient care
— removing legislative, policy and other barriers in the workplace that prevent nurses from working to their full scope of practice

The three universities that offer bachelor of science in nursing programs — Cape Breton, Dalhousie and St. Francis Xavier universities — have worked together to improve their programs.

All three universities will offer a common, modern curriculum, introduce a new accelerated program, and create multiple start and graduation times.

Nursing students will be able to start — and finish — their undergraduate degrees at different times, allowing the health-care system to hire them throughout the year rather than all at once.

Universities will better recognize previous academic credits and work experience, and offer a longer, 13-week final clinical placement.

These changes are expected to take effect September 2016.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan said these changes will mean new nurses are better prepared for the workforce.

“These universities know that working together will better prepare their nursing students for the workforce, and improve the quality of undergraduate nursing education overall,” said Ms. Regan.

“This kind of collaboration among our universities is unprecedented — we thank them for it, and encourage others to follow suit. These changes will make Nova Scotia’s undergraduate nursing programs among the very best in the country.”

Government will also invest $800,000 in upgrades to the nursing simulation lab at St. Francis Xavier University, and another $34,000 in upgrades to the simulation lab at the Yarmouth campus of the Dalhousie School of Nursing.

Provincial data shows that the number of nurses working in Nova Scotia has grown by about 2,000 to a total of 14,000 since the first nursing strategy was introduced in 2001.

Nearly 4,300 registered nurses and 1,600 licensed practical nurses in Nova Scotia will be over the age of 55 in the next five years.

The nursing strategy and nursing education review are both available at http://novascotia.ca/dhw .

FOR BROADCAST USE

     Government says a new nursing strategy will help

support experienced nurses and help new graduates become

workforce-ready.

     The strategy, launched today (May 12th), will help nurses

spend more of their time on patient care and give them dedicated

time to mentor new nurses.

     Starting in 2016, undergraduate nursing students will

be able to start — and finish — their degrees at different

times throughout the year.

     They’ll also get a longer, 13-week final practical

placement so they’re more prepared for the workforce.

     Government is also investing eight-hundred

thousand dollars in the nursing simulation lab at St. Francis

Xavier University.

Source: Release

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