Wednesday August 27, 2014

Nurse Practitioner degree to launch in September

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Applications are now being accepted for the new master's of nursing (nurse practitioner) degree, offered jointly by SIAST and the University of Regina beginning September 2014.

This master's level Collaborative Nurse Practitioner Program is designed for registered nurses (RN) who are looking for new challenges. It meets Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association approval standards, and it will provide the extensive knowledge and skills needed to manage the care of patients and their families in a primary care setting.

The program will be offered online and consists of 11 courses, along with a one-week residency lab requirement and 702 hours of clinical practice education with qualified nurse practitioner, pharmacist and physician preceptors. Students, based in Saskatchewan, may complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis, in two or four years respectively. Graduates of the program are eligible to write the national nurse practitioner exam and seek registration as a registered nurse, nurse practitioner (NP).

Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris welcomed this new program to help meet the health needs in the province.

"I would like to commend the University of Regina and SIAST on this new degree program, which draws on their extensive experience in nursing education, health research and collaboration," said Norris. "Increased training opportunities such as this will help secure Saskatchewan's nursing workforce and contribute to high-quality healthcare in the future."

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with graduate level educational preparation and possesses advanced clinical knowledge. The NP can autonomously assess, order and interpret diagnostic tests, diagnose, prescribe medication and perform specific primary care procedures within a legislated scope of practice (CNA 2009).

Deans of Nursing, Dr. david Gregory of the University of Regina and Dr. Netha Dyck of SIAST welcome this opportunity to partner in this second nursing program being offered by the two post-secondary institutions. The Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) program is currently in its third year.

"Accessibility via distance education will enable students to meet family and personal commitments while maintaining a full-time study schedule," said Dyck. "It is designed for RNs who have demonstrated academic and clinical excellence, and who are comfortable serving in leadership roles and as patient advocates in a complex, rapidly changing health care system."

"The new program will provide extensive clinical opportunities under the supervision of preceptors and faculty," added Gregory. "It brings together world-class faculty, practising nursing practitioners and instructional designers to create a contemporary learning experience."

Community development, health promotion and collaboration with interprofessional health care providers are essential components of the program. Graduates will help meet the growing demand for primary and preventative care in conventional settings and in an office, clinic and ambulatory care centres. Graduates may also follow patients and families in a variety of settings, such as school, home, workplace and hospital, dependent upon their health care needs.

For further information or detail on admission requirements, visit

Co-operative Education (Co-op) program earned $9.7 million in wages

Participants in the University of Regina's Co-operative Education (Co-op) program earned $9.7 million in wages this year. But it's not just the promise of a paycheck that draws students to the program.

"Being able to practice and experience what you're taught in class and getting paid is the perfect balance," says Esther Edoho, a University of Regina student in the Faculty of Business Administration. "Another perk is that you get to work with professionals in your field of study – they have offered me advice on how to progress with my future career and what I will need to know to stand-out when it comes time for interviews," she adds.

Sydney Gossard is in her final year of studies with the Faculty of Arts (English) and Centre for Continuing Education (public relations certificate) at the University of Regina. She agrees that the Co-op program provides relevant experience.

"My academic experience hasn't been trumped by my Co-op experience, but rather, enhanced; the skills and values I could have only gained from the classroom are put to use in my work placements, and then further adapted into specific tasks and projects," says Gossard.

Since its inception in 1969, the University's Co-op program has had a record of 835 career-related placements in 2013 – a 45 per cent growth in the last seven years. With more than 50 programs to choose from, students from the faculties of Arts, Business Administration, Engineering and Applied Science and Science are benefitting from an average of 12-16 months of supervised work experience by the time of graduation.

"I have been able to use skills specifically related to my degree–my writing skills, my communication skills, my creativity," says Gossard, who is certain this experience will aid her in the future.

In addition to the Co-op program both students have taken advantage of the other services offered at the University of Regina's Career Centre, which offers workshops on resumé writing and interviewing, long-term career goal setting, and career and volunteer fairs.

For both students, the University's Career Centre has bridged the gap from classroom to career.



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