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B.C. Funds Vancouver Aboriginal Nursing Projects

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2007HEALTH0161-001622
Dec. 14, 2007

Ministry of Health

VANCOUVER – The Province has awarded funding totalling $116,692 to the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, and Vancouver Coastal Health as part of the government’s Aboriginal Nursing Strategies, Health Minister George Abbott and Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayencourt announced today.This year, the provincewide Aboriginal Nursing Strategies initiative will provide $500,000 to projects focusing on Aboriginal nursing in B.C.

“We are focused on providing the best possible health outcomes for all British Columbians, and we are continually examining ways in which we can deliver culturally tailored health care that directly benefits communities,” said Abbott. “With that in mind, this year we have doubled the amount of funding available through our Aboriginal Nursing Strategies.”

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.; and

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

“Today we celebrate three exciting projects that are focused on improving wellness in Aboriginal communities around the province,” said Mayencourt. “Quality nursing care for all British Columbians is a priority for this government. This year, 15 projects received funding through the Aboriginal Nursing Strategies and, since 2001, we have invested $174 million towards educating, recruiting and retaining nurses across B.C.”

The BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre’s Connections in Care: Building Capacity for Nurses in Aboriginal Communities project received $35,000 in funding and will focus on the retention of nurses currently working in Aboriginal communities. Project organizers will work with these nurses to identify and build on community strengths. There are also plans for the creation and delivery of a two-day workshop to help develop strategies for managing and preventing staff burn-out for nurses working in Aboriginal communities.

“This project is an exciting opportunity for focusing on the strengths of our Aboriginal communities and to build on this strength as a way of keeping nurses working in these communities,” said Lerinda Swain, nurse clinician with the Aboriginal Health program at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre. “Our aim is for this project to contribute to a greater understanding of the benefits and challenges of working within Aboriginal communities in order to best support health care for Aboriginal people around B.C.”

“The funding from the Province will help retain nurses working in Aboriginal communities to ensure we have a strong nursing workforce,” said Dr. Liz Whynot, president of BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre. “A healthy workforce is an important part of delivering the best case for our patients.”

Vancouver Coastal Health received funding for two Aboriginal Nursing Strategy projects this year. The Mentoring Current and Prospective Aboriginal Nursing Students project received $29,932 in funding and its main goal is to increase the capacity of Aboriginal nursing in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. The pilot project focuses on mentoring as a key way to support current and prospective Aboriginal nursing students.

“One of the primary goals of this project is working towards enhancing health care for the large Aboriginal community served by Vancouver Coastal,” said Dr. Amy McCutcheon, chief nursing officer and executive lead, professional practice for Vancouver Coastal Health. “Mentorship in a supportive and culturally focused environment will provide nurses and nursing students with a number of opportunities for personal and professional growth.”

The Practice Exchange Between Nurses Working in Urban and Remote Aboriginal Communities project received $51,760 in funding and will provide Aboriginal nurses working in remote communities with the opportunity to refresh their acute clinical skills through internships in urban hospitals. The project will also give nurses in urban centres an insight into health care in Aboriginal communities.

“This project is an exciting opportunity for Aboriginal nurses working in small, remote communities to refresh their skills and to experience working life in an urban setting,” said McCutcheon. “These nurses will also have the opportunity to share their knowledge of Aboriginal issues and culture with urban nurses, an experience that we hope will provide a heightened understanding of the unique health care issues faced by Aboriginal communities.”

In June 2007, the Ministry of Health issued a request for proposals for Aboriginal nursing projects for 2007/2008. A total of $500,000 was available to Aboriginal groups, post-secondary institutions, nursing associations and other organizations. All funded projects must be completed by March 31, 2008 and the each project’s organizer must submit a final evaluation report to the ministry by April 15, 2008.

Aboriginal Nursing Strategies funding reflects the goals of the Pacific Leadership Agenda and demonstrates the Province’s commitment to building a new relationship with Aboriginal people and to closing gaps in health, housing, education and economic opportunities.

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

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Media contact:

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