Thursday, 08 June 2017 09:48

First graduates from collaborative nursing program receive their pins

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Graduates and dignitaries pose for a photograph after the first SCBScN program pinning ceremony in Swift Current, June 2. Back row, from left to right, University of Regina Director Alumni and Community Engagement Peggy MacDonald, Saskatchewan Polytechnic Associate Vice President Student Services Tobi Strohan, University of Regina Associate Dean (Undergraduate) Faculty of Nursing Dr. Robin Evans, Cypress Health Director Workforce Planning and Staff Development Shelley Dawson-Briere, Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson, University of Regina Provost Dr. Thomas Chase, and Swift Current Deputy Mayor Ryan Plewis. Front row, from left to right, Saskatchewan Polytechnic Associate Dean School of Nursing and Interim Associate Dean School of Health Sciences Cindy Smith, Saskatchewan Polytechnic Academic Chair for SCBScN program Christa MacLean, students Leeta Brisebois, Ellie Koellmel, Carrie Empey, and Kayla Christofferson, and Great Plains College Region Manager Karen Richmond. Graduates and dignitaries pose for a photograph after the first SCBScN program pinning ceremony in Swift Current, June 2. Back row, from left to right, University of Regina Director Alumni and Community Engagement Peggy MacDonald, Saskatchewan Polytechnic Associate Vice President Student Services Tobi Strohan, University of Regina Associate Dean (Undergraduate) Faculty of Nursing Dr. Robin Evans, Cypress Health Director Workforce Planning and Staff Development Shelley Dawson-Briere, Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson, University of Regina Provost Dr. Thomas Chase, and Swift Current Deputy Mayor Ryan Plewis. Front row, from left to right, Saskatchewan Polytechnic Associate Dean School of Nursing and Interim Associate Dean School of Health Sciences Cindy Smith, Saskatchewan Polytechnic Academic Chair for SCBScN program Christa MacLean, students Leeta Brisebois, Ellie Koellmel, Carrie Empey, and Kayla Christofferson, and Great Plains College Region Manager Karen Richmond. Matthew Liebenberg

The first graduates from the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) program in Swift Current received their nursing pins during a ceremony at Walker Place, June 2.


The pinning ceremony is a longstanding tradition in the nursing profession that dates back to the original Nightingale School of Nursing in the 19th century. The pin is a symbol of honour and marks a graduate’s transition from student to practising nurse.
The first five graduates from the program in Swift Current are Leeta Brisebois, Kayla Christofferson, Carrie Empey, Ellie Koellmel, and Catherine Reimer.
“I’m just so excited to be done and to have all of our faculty members and staff members who helped us throughout the whole program actually here and congratulate us on today and just so excited to move into the next chapter of my life with my nursing career,” Koellmel said after the ceremony.
She will write her national exam on June 8 and will start to work in the medical surgical unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital on June 13. She was born and raised in Swift Current. Koellmel appreciated the opportunity to study nursing in her home town.
“It’s really great to be able to have a job and in the city that we’ve took all of our studies in and that we’re from and planned to stay here,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity to have the program here in Swift Current.”
She was inspired by her mother, who has been a nurse for 37 years. Koellmel worked as a care aide during the four years of her studies and she is eager to start her new career. The availability of the program in Swift Current made it easier for her to pursue her dream to become a nurse.
“I started right out of high school,” she said. “So going into university was a big change, as it is, and I was able |to stay at home living with my parents for the first three years. So that’s huge for being able to save money and just with the stresses as well, not having to worry about moving to a different city, commuting back and forth and finding a new place to live and all those sorts of things.”
Another benefit of the program is that she was able to do all her practicums in the hospital where she will be working and she saw the opportunities the Cypress Health Region has to offer to graduates.
“I love the small-community feel and it’s like a family there, all the staff members,” she said. “They work together so well and I think really it’s just because it’s a smaller centre. In the bigger cities there might be other opportunities but being able to see what Swift Current has to offer did really alter my decision in where I will be working after.”
The SCBScN program in Swift Current is a result of a partnership between the University of Regina, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Great Plains College and the Cypress Health Region.
These graduates started their studies in the fall of 2013.
According to Dr. Robin Evans, the associate dean (undergraduate) at the University of Regina’s Faculty of Nursing, the program gives preference to applicants from the Cypress Health Region.
“They get to stay with their friends, their families,” she said. “Some of them have young families and some of them aren’t able to leave because their families are established.
When they learn here, they’re more likely to stay here. So the health region benefits, because those individuals then will work within the health region.”
The program in Swift Current accepted up to eight students each year, and it has always been full.
“Sometimes we have students who for various reasons take a little bit longer,” she said. “There are all kinds of different reasons.”
Christa MacLean, the academic chair at Sask Polytech for the SCBScN program, said the program has been a positive partnership between the four organizations that results in an even better education for the students.
“In every class that we teach they get a Sask Polytech and U of R Faculty partnering together to develop the curriculum and then we partner with Great Plains, as well as nurses in the health region to deliver the clinical,” she explained. “So they get the strength of each agency.”
She noted the staff members of the four organizations also benefit from this collaboration.
“It’s also helped all of our faculty develop collaboration and communication skills and also our students developing collaboration and communication because we need to maintain those open lines, whether they be through e-mail or phone calls, video conferencing, frequent meetings,” she said.
Budgetary constraints due to reduced provincial funding to tertiary education has resulted in changes to the delivery model for the SCBScN program in Swift Current. Students will now be required to take the first three years of the program in Regina and Saskatoon. They will then have the option to complete the fourth year in Swift Current.
“They will come back for all of their fourth year, including their senior practica where they work within the health region,” Dr. Evans said. “Our evidence shows that people tend to stay where they do their senior practica. So that is a recruitment tool for the health region.”

Read 1674 times Last modified on Thursday, 08 June 2017 11:19
Matthew Liebenberg

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