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Wednesday, 24 October 2012 15:41

Four-year nursing degree program for Swift Current

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The implementation of a four-year nursing degree program in Swift Current will take an important step forward with the Nov. 1 signing of a memorandum of understanding between the University of Regina, SIAST registered nurse program, Great Plains College and the Cypress Regional Health Authority.


Cypress Health CEO Beth Vachon provided detail about the agreement during the Oct. 17 regular monthly meeting of the  Cypress Regional Health Authority in Ponteix.
This will result in the first intake of eight students to this program in September 2013. After four years, when the program will be fully implemented, there will be 32 nursing students in the Cypress Health Region at any given time.
“We’re very excited about that,” she said to applause from board members. “The fact that we’re able to offer this program here speaks to our ability to encourage existing staff or future staff to train, live and learn and continue to stay in our region when the time comes that they’re graduating.”
The program will be based out of the Cypress Regional Hospital, but Vachon said there will also be opportunities for students to gain experience elsewhere in the health region.
“We haven’t firmed that up but that rural health experience would definitely be something that we have the opportunity to provide,” she mentioned.
She emphasized this program will have important recruitment and retention benefits for the health region.
“We know that if people learn and live in an area, that’s often where they end up settling,” she said. “They have made a connection with a number of health professionals through the training, they’ve committed four years to living in the community and often they settle here.”
The location of the program in Swift Current will also make it easier for Cypress Health Region staff to continue their studies.
“We have a number of staff who may like to continue their education,” Vachon said. “To be able to enter that in Swift Current just makes it more attainable for people to go into a health care field that they may not have that opportunity had they have to leave the region to do it.”

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