August 14, 2007: Meeting the health care needs of British Columbia

      Tuesday, August 14, 2007
      Contact: Jean Bennett at 604.885.5905

      (Sechelt, B.C.)—A new Access to Practical Nursing certificate program will be offered at Capilano’s Sunshine Coast campus in Sechelt starting in January 2008.

      Through a combination of classroom study, nursing labs and practical nursing experiences, students will acquire the skills and knowledge required for employment as a practical nurse.

      “This is a program that we’ve been wanting to offer on the Sunshine Coast for years because there is such a high demand in our region for health care practitioners,” says campus dean, Jean Bennett. “The only way people could get this designation previously was to leave the community and give up their jobs.”

      The 18-month course will be offered on a part-time basis two days a week, allowing students to continue their employment while working towards their designation. Applicants must have completed a home support/resident care attendant program to be eligible. Once they have graduated from the practical nursing program, students must write their licensing exam to become a practical nurse. Graduates who pass the exam then have the option of carrying on to complete a registered nursing program offered at other institutions in British Columbia.

      “A typical licensed practical nurse program is usually a full-time 12 month program,” Bennett explains, “but the access program that we’re offering recognizes the education and experience that our students will already have. That’s why we can offer it on a part-time basis.”

      With a severe shortage of health care worker in B.C. and with St. Mary’s Hospital on the Sunshine Coast nearly doubling its bed capacity in the next five years, graduates will have their choice of job opportunities, including working in special care units, public schools, community care settings, longterm care facilities and in home care, to name a few. The program, which received support from the provincial government, will also provide a real benefit to employers whose staff can upgrade their training without taking an extended leave from work.

      “We really pleased that the provincial government has recognized the importance of offering this training in a small community,” Bennett says. “The Ministry of Advanced Education worked with us to find a way to make this program happen in a manner that works best for our community.”

      Only 24 applicants will be accepted into the program that will cost $154 per credit. For more information, call 604.885.9310 or visit