Premier Selinger

Premier Selinger

Premier Announces New Practical Nursing Diploma Program During National Nursing Week 

The practical nursing (PN) program at Assiniboine Community College (ACC) will now provide graduates with a diploma to recognize their important role in Manitoba’s health-care system, Premier Greg Selinger, Advanced Education and Literacy Minister Diane McGifford and Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today. 

“Today during National Nursing Week we are moving forward to strengthen medical education opportunities throughout the province,” said Selinger.  “These changes will help better prepare students for their crucial role in Manitoba’s health-care system with broader knowledge and experience.”  

“By moving to the diploma program, we will ensure that Manitoba’s practical nursing graduates receive appropriate academic recognition for the demands of their training program,” said McGifford. “Our strategic investments in health-care education have resulted in a range of opportunities that continue to encourage Manitobans to pursue this challenging and rewarding field.” 

Manitoba has invested $400,000 this year to help transition the PN program at ACC from a certificate to a diploma. The curriculum has been updated and will be introduced in classes starting this fall. The new diploma program will increase the total number of practicum hours required to graduate to 880 from 800. It will also require graduates to complete an additional 120 classroom hours in microbiology, nutrition and sociology.  

“We have trained thousands of nurses since 1999 who have brought their expertise and compassion to the front lines of patient care,” said Oswald.  “We will continue to invest in nurse training, recruitment and retention initiatives that strengthen our health-care system, even in these challenging economic times.” 

Over the last 10 years, nearly 4,000 students have enrolled in the PN program alone. There are currently 190 practical nurse training seats available, split between Brandon (70 seats), Winnipeg (70 seats) and two rural rotating sites of 25 seats each. Admissions to the new diploma program opened in March and the first group of graduates is expected in 2012. 

“ACC has been a leader in practical nursing education for over 30 years,” said Karen Hargreaves, dean of the school of health and human services at Assiniboine Community College.  “We believe the diploma program will ensure that our graduates will continue to be well positioned to meet the demands of the ever-changing health-care industry.” 

The ministers noted that practical nurses are an important part of the health-care system whose role includes assessing and treating health conditions, promoting health and preventing illness. 

“LPNs play a vital role in Manitoba’s health-care system and these changes in education will allow for greater autonomy in practice,” said Lynn Marks, president of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba. “The role of the LPN continues to evolve through education and training to respond to the changing needs of Manitobans and our health-care system.” 

There are 2,532 more nurses working in Manitoba today than in 1999, the ministers noted. The number of nurse education seats has almost doubled in that time.  

The province continues to build on the Manitoba Nursing Strategy, first introduced in March 2000. For more information on the province’s nursing strategy, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/nurses/strategy.html.