NDP Nanaimo MLAs say more nursing seats at VIU will improve healthcare in B.C.

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NANAIMO – New Democrat MLAs Sheila Malcolmson, Doug Routley, and Adam Walker say expansion of nursing seats at Vancouver Island University and across B.C. will strengthen the province’s healthcare system by increasing future nursing capacity.

“This expansion is great news – the vital role nurses play in our healthcare system has been especially evident through the pandemic,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “Building our nursing workforce will reduce the strain on healthcare workers and open more opportunities for VIU students.”

Over 600 new nursing seats will be added to the approximately 2,000 seats currently in nursing programs in B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions. At Vancouver Island University, this investment will add eight new registered nursing seats, 24 seats for health-care assistants (HCA) who want to train as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), and 24 seats for LPNs looking to move into a career as a registered nurse. The first intake begins in Fall 2022.

“More nursing seats at VIU and at other schools in B.C. will go a long way towards building a strong healthcare system and creating good jobs for people,” said Doug Routley. “This is one example of how we are aligning our goal of a strong economy to our goal of making sure people in B.C. are healthy and cared for.”

This expansion builds on recent investments in growing health programs in the province. Government has also provided approximately $8.7 million in 2021-22 to support health educational training programs, including the expansion of specialty nursing and the launch of a new nursing program in the northeast. The Province is also working with post-secondary institutions to expand health-care assistant training as part of the Health Career Access Program. Further expansions in a range of health education programs are also underway.

“This investment in over 600 nursing seats will help train thousands of new nurses, or nurses-in-training, in our province,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “I’m glad to see so many new seats at VIU – this is positive news for people in our region who can upgrade their skills while staying local.”

This investment is a part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan efforts to move British Columbia forward by tackling the challenges of today, while growing an economy that works for everyone.

Learn more: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022HLTH0004-000250