Nursing educators concerned province’s call for 200 more nurses is a rush job

WINNIPEG — The provincial government is hoping Manitoba can educate and train 200 more nurses, as it deals with the ongoing effects of the pandemic. But some are concerned this is a rush job to make up for past mistakes.

Nursing colleges, including the one at the University of Manitoba, have been asked to come up with a plan to increase nursing training seats by 200.

The province says nurses are in high demand in Manitoba and around the world, so it is asking for proposals from the various institutions.

But some worry the government is moving too fast.

Genevieve Thompson is an associate professor of nursing at the University of Manitoba.

“Why has the province asked us to develop a proposal for nursing education in a relatively short time frame?” asked Thompson, adding schools were asked to come up with plans in three days.

She said taking in more students would require restructuring of the current program and more resources.

Thompson said the province has had a nursing shortage for years. She said the Pallister Government has added to the problem, and the pandemic has exacerbated the situation.

“I think myself and other people who are in nursing education do really see this that the government is trying to play catch-up and is rushing this process,” said Thompson.

Orvie Dingwall is the vice president of the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations.

Dingwall said there are not enough trained instructors to pull this off right now.

“Faculty members have a master’s degree or a PhD in nursing and we don’t have extras of those here in Manitoba right now,” said Dingwall.

In a statement, Manitoba Advanced Education Minister Wayne Ewasko suggests funding will be available to expand the programs.

“The ministry and our post-secondary partners are currently in preliminary discussions on the financial resources and needs of our institutions and teaching staff to ensure standards and practices remain at its highest level,” said Ewasko.

The province has not announced when it expects the additional nursing seats to be added.

The university said its nursing college welcomes the opportunity to work with the government to address the nursing shortage. 

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