News Release - May 12, 1999
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
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
"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
"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:
Phone: (306) 787-4088