Previously, the two-year program alternated its start between the two communities.
“We’re thrilled to be able to make this change so students don’t have to wait to start their training or travel to another community,” said Barb McPherson, NIC’s department chair, practical nursing.
Each campus will have 10 students who will get to connect with each other through Interactive TV classes, along with the in-person instruction and lab time.
“Our world is becoming more technologically advanced and having a classroom that uses ITV opens the door for more creative learning opportunities,” said McPherson. “Working with students from a different community provides a great opportunity for them to learn more about the resources or options on the island.”
Having graduates every year in both Campbell River and Port Alberni will also help to meet the staffing needs in both communities, added McPherson.
NIC Practical Nursing grad Marissa Hunter chose NIC because she was able to study in Port Alberni and because of the small class sizes. She graduated from NIC’s Practical Nursing diploma program in Port Alberni in June and is preparing to write her licensing exam this fall.
“We get lots of one-on-one time with our teachers and in the lab,” she said. “You get a lot of support as you practice and build your skills.”
Hunter found that support continued as the students went out to their practicum placements in the community.
“We were really well directed in practicum,” she said. “You can tell the instructors trust us because they know us and know what we can do. That helps us have confidence in our own abilities.”
While Hunter knew she wanted to be a nurse, she found she was surprised by the work that LPNs do.
“The scope of practice for LPNs is a lot broader than I originally thought,” she said. “We can do things like medications, injections and catheterizations. I was also surprised by where LPNs work. I thought it was long-term care and hospitals, but we’re everywhere. There’s so much opportunity.”
Hunter plans to work and continue taking courses – working toward her goal of becoming a psychiatric nurse. She would recommend NIC to anyone interested in nursing.
“The support you receive is incredible,” she said. “The small class sizes give you a much more personal education. The instructors get to know us and we get to know them.”
NIC’s Practical Nursing diploma is offered at both the Campbell River and Port Alberni campuses, starting in September.
To learn more, or to apply, visit: www.nic.bc.ca/health-human-services.