B.C. Funds UBC Okanagan Aboriginal Nursing Project

For Immediate Release
Dec. 6, 2007

Ministry of Health

KELOWNA – University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) will receive $34,055 as part of the government’s Aboriginal Nursing Strategies, a provincial initiative that has provided $500,000 in 2007/2008 to increase the number of Aboriginal communities with quality nursing care and to increase the number of Aboriginal nurses working in B.C. communities, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Al Horning announced today.“This project will make UBCO’s nursing program a draw for Aboriginal nursing students and nursing students interested in working in Aboriginal communities,” said Horning, speaking at today’s cheque presentation. “Increasing the number of graduating Aboriginal nurses is an important step in assuring health care that is focused on the needs of our Aboriginal communities.”

The goal of the UBCO project is to establish a partnership with health and education agencies to develop tools, curricula and support services to increase enrolment of Aboriginal nursing students at UBCO. The project will also work towards enhancing professional development for Aboriginal nurses and nurses working in Aboriginal communities.

Aboriginal nursing projects receiving funding through the Ministry of Health’s Nursing Directorate must focus on at least one of four main goals:

· Encouraging Aboriginal students to consider nursing as a career and supporting Aboriginal students currently enrolled in nursing programs;

· Recruiting and retaining Aboriginal nurses;

· Supporting nursing in Aboriginal communities in B.C.;

· Developing health promotion and disease prevention materials for B.C.’s Aboriginal communities.

Since 2001, the Province has invested $174 million towards B.C.’s Nursing Strategy, an initiative that focuses on educating, recruiting and retaining qualified nurses.

“This is an exciting day for the Aboriginal nursing community and for our nursing program,” said Dr. Joan Bassett-Smith, director of UBCO’s School of Nursing. “The focus of this project is on providing additional support to ensure the success of Aboriginal nurses and Aboriginal nursing students in British Columbia. Importantly, our goal of increasing the enrolment of Aboriginal undergraduate and graduate nursing students at UBCO will have long-term benefits for health care in Aboriginal communities across the province.”

In June 2007, the Ministry of Health issued a request for proposals for Aboriginal nursing projects for 2007/2008. Each project must be completed by March 31, 2008 and each project organizer must submit a final evaluation report to the Ministry of Health by April 15, 2008.

Aboriginal Nursing Strategies supports the goals of the Pacific Leadership Agenda and demonstrates government’s commitment to building a new relationship with Aboriginal people and closing gaps in health opportunities.

For more information about Aboriginal Nursing Strategies, please visit www.health.gov.bc.ca/ndirect/.


Media contact:

Marisa Adair
Communications Director
Ministry of Health
250 952-1889
250 920-8500 (cell)

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