Neepawa nursing class provides close-to-home training for new hospital’s jobs
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A class of 25 student nurses will be educated in Neepawa as part of a government announcement to make it easier for rural Manitobans to access training closer to home.
The province is spending $2.1 million as one-time funding for Assiniboine Community College to offer its practical nursing diploma program in Neepawa, Advanced Education and Training Minister Sarah Guillemard and Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced Monday.
After graduation, the nurses are expected to be eligible to fill open positions at the new Neepawa hospital, which is under construction and set to be completed in 2025, the provincial government stated in a news release.
The announcement is positive, particularly considering the difficulty recruiting nurses to some rural areas, the Manitoba Nurses Union said, but the government needs to do more to meaningfully retain nurses.
“With more than 2,000 current vacant nursing positions, and a minimum of two years to complete the program, a one-per cent increase (25 licensed practical nursing candidates) is far from a comprehensive solution,” president Darlene Jackson said.
“We need a solid commitment to recruitment, but it’s pointless without addressing the horrible culture/work/life balance that’s crushing any hopes of retaining experienced nurses that continue to leave the system. Recruitment must be accompanied by meaningful retention in order to address the critical nursing shortage.”
Monday’s funding announcement is part of the government’s health human resources plan to add 2,000 workers to the provincial health-care system.