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Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Saskatchewan

NURSING EDUCATION EXPANDED IN SASKATCHEWAN

Funding for an expansion of nursing education and training programs

was announced today by Health Minister Pat Atkinson, Post-Secondary

Education and Skills Training Minister Maynard Sonntag and Associate

Health Minister Judy Junor.



"As people know, Saskatchewan nurses, like nurses in other provinces

in Canada, are feeling the effects of a nursing shortage," Atkinson

said. "By increasing the number of spaces in our Nursing Education

Program, we believe we can provide future hope and support to nurses

in the workplace."



Sonntag said, "The number of seats in the Nursing Education Program of

Saskatchewan (NEPS) will increase to 260 from the current approved

level of 180 seats. NEPS prepares Registered Nurses and Registered

Psychiatric Nurses and is jointly operated by SIAST and the University

of Saskatchewan."



The number of seats in the Practical Nursing Program is also being

expanded by eight seats to a minimum of 72. The Practical Nursing

Program is a SIAST program offered on-campus in Prince Albert and

Regina and off-campus by arrangement with Regional Colleges.



The additional positions will cost approximately $900,000 in the first

year and close to $4 million in the fourth year of operations.



"I am pleased to see that there is strong interest in nursing among

young people and we will have no trouble filling all of the education

and training spaces," Junor said.



The decision to expand training spaces was based on research

which projected a need of approximately 250 Registered Nurses and

Registered Psychiatric Nurses and 90 Licensed Practical nurses

each year.



"This means young people can train and work in and near the

communities they grew up in," Sonntag said. "We will continue to

work with the post-secondary institutions to implement this

expanded capacity."



"Our government wants to work with health providers on issues of

recruitment and retention," Atkinson said. The system relies on

a great variety of skilled people all dedicated to patient care

and Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and Licensed

Practical Nurses play an essential role in this."



Junor said, "We recognize there is work to be done in improving

our health care system and we are committed to listening to and

working with health care providers to achieve a better system.

The investments we are now making are part of building and

preserving publicly funded health care."



The 1999-2000 Budget included a number of new initiatives to

improve health care, particularly in front line services. This

includes an increased investment toward women's health programs,

improving waiting times, stronger cancer programs and improved

wages and benefits for people working in the front lines of

health care delivery. Approximately 30,000 people work in

Saskatchewan's health care system.



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For more information, contact:



Jeff Brown

Saskatchewan Health

Regina

Phone: (306) 787-4088
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