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Northern nursing program gets funding, doubles seats available in Flin Flon

The University College of the North (UCN) will expand its nursing programs in Flin Flon, along with a pair of other northern communities, after receiving another $4.3 million in provincial funds.
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Nurse file photo.

The University College of the North (UCN) will expand its nursing programs in Flin Flon, along with a pair of other northern communities, after receiving another $4.3 million in provincial funds.

The agreement was announced by the province and the university in December, allowing UCN to increase funds to its nursing programs at campuses in Flin Flon, Swan River and Thompson. The money will allow for UCN to double the size of its nursing enrolment in Flin Flon, going from 14 available seats to 28, while Swan River’s program also doubles from 20 to 40 and Thompson’s seats grow to 40 as well.

“It [the funding] will be allocated between three sites, Thompson, Flin Flon and Swan River. Some of it with be for operating and some for capital equipment and renovations,” said Vicki Zeran, dean of health for University College of the North.

“Government has provided UCN with the funds we requested to expand the program in Flin Flon.”

Manitoba advanced education, skills and immigration minister Wayne Ewasko said in a provincial press release that the funds were part of an existing government plan to boost the number of nurse training seats in Manitoba.

"This past July, our government committed to adding additional nursing seats and today’s announcement is a part of that plan,” said Ewasko.

“We have listened to feedback from UCN and are pleased to provide capital and operating funding to make this expansion possible.”

Zeran said the new funding will also allow UCN to hire more instructors and renovate some of its existing equipment.

“Currently, we have student intakes every other year. With the new funds, we will hire two more instructors and have annual intakes of students. This will double our seats for the Flin Flon program,” said Zeran.

“As well, some of the funds will go towards capital equipment and renovations of a new site to accommodate the increased student seats.”

UCN campuses in Flin Flon, Swan River and Thompson each offer a diploma practical nursing program. For Flin Flon students, the program requires students to relocate for their second year for clinical courses, according to the UCN website. Applicants must have above a certain grade average in Grade 12 and a number of prerequisite courses to apply for entry to the program.

The school also offers a bachelor of nursing program, offered in conjunction with the Univ. of Manitoba.