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N.B. launches new initiative to help produce more licensed nurses in the province


New Brunswick is introducing a new education model designed to help produce more licensed practical nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN).

The new initiative is a workplace-based, wage-supported learning model where participants work part-time in the health-care system, while completing one of two program streams, which include:

  • from personal support workers (PSW) to LPN
  • from LPN to RN

The province says it will spend about $13.3 million on the pilot project, called "Step up to Nursing."

“We continue to build New Brunswick’s capacity for training health-care professionals and look for new opportunities to support our health-care system,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder in a news release Friday.

“Step Up to Nursing is the result of a tremendous partnership and it will complement our many other initiatives aimed at addressing human resource shortages in the health-care sector.”

Participants will be paid wages and benefits commensurate with their employer's job classification and scope of practice.

The province says wages will be maintained during periods of learning, including workplace clinical placements. Tuition fees will also be covered.

“Giving health-care professionals the flexibility to upgrade their training while still being able to work is a step towards improving our health-care system,” said Health Minister Bruce Fitch.

Funding for the initiative is provided over a three-year period through the Canada-New Brunswick Labour Market Agreements and includes first-year development costs.

Holder says the project is unique to Canada and includes a retention plan to keep nurses in New Brunswick, at least temporarily.

“There is a service agreement in place and I believe it is tied into the number of years that you trained to commit to that number staying in the province after,” he said.

According to the provincial government, the program will be offered in Saint John and Bathurst and will be a mix of online and in-person training.

The nursing pilot project supports the government's health plan, called "Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action," which includes five action areas:

  • better access to primary health care
  • better access to surgery
  • creating a connected system
  • better access to addiction and mental health services
  • better supporting seniors to age in place

The province says it will also help with its efforts to support the recruitment and training of nurses, which includes:

  • establishing navigation services for internationally educated nurses
  • signing 10-year performance-based agreements with Université de Moncton and University of New Brunswick to increase the number of nursing graduates by 85 per year
  • increasing the number of seats for bridging programs that help licensed practical nurses apply directly to a bachelor of nursing program
  • doubling the seats in University of New Brunswick’s master’s program for nurse practitioners
  • increasing educational opportunities through a partnership with Beal University in Maine

For full coverage of New Brunswick news, visit our dedicated page. Top Stories

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