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Okanagan College Practical Nursing grads quick to enter workforce
Okanagan College Media Release

There’s a good chance that practical nurses graduating from Okanagan College this weekend will be on the job within a month – that is unless they’ve already found work in their field.

The 77 Practical Nursing graduates will be among 340 students who will receive credentials at Okanagan College’s annual Winter Convocation in Kelowna on Saturday. Of the 77 nursing students, 37 finished their program in December – another 40 completed their studies in August and many have already found jobs.

According to figures released Jan. 6 from the Ministry of Advanced Education’s Student Outcomes Survey, even in today’s economy 58 per cent of those who graduated from the College’s Practical Nursing program between 2009-2011 landed jobs in their field in less than one month. Another 24 per cent obtained jobs within two months of graduation.

Those numbers fit in well with projections from the B.C. Labour Market Outlook published in July 2011. The report identified health occupations to be among the top three groups to experience job growth, and noted that 42 per cent of B.C.’s job openings in all fields will require college or trade certificates.

Practical Nursing Chair Norma Stubbert said the positive employment rate likely also reflects the depth and breadth of the training.

“Our last 15 classes have experienced a 100 per cent pass rate on the national exam,” said Stubbert. “These figures speak not only to the excellence in program delivery and instruction, but also to the support offered to students.”

Stubbert also gave credit to experts in the field who take time to work with the students.

“These community partners play a significant role in ensuring our graduates have a solid foundation for their practice by providing excellent learning opportunities, which helps them quickly put their knowledge into practice,” she said.

Students seem to agree. The Outcomes Survey also revealed 94 per cent of those surveyed reported they were satisfied with their education, despite 58 per cent describing the program as “difficult.”

Joining the practical nurses in the first Convocation ceremony of 2012, are another 263 students graduating from more than 20 fields of study.

The Winter Convocation takes place at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College, Saturday, Jan. 14 and includes students from all four regional campuses.

The morning program gets underway at 10 a.m. and will recognize graduates from a variety of programs such as Commercial Aviation, Bachelor in Business Administration, Advanced Culinary Arts, Electronic Engineering Technology, Human Service Work, and Criminal and Social Justice.

The afternoon ceremony starts at 12:30 p.m. with the College conferring certificates on the practical nursing graduates.

This marks the first Convocation ceremony of 2012. Okanagan College’s larger Convocation and Commencement ceremonies take place in June.

In the 2010/2011 academic year Okanagan College conferred 2,551 credentials.

Applications for the next intake for the 70-week Practical Nursing diploma, which starts September 2012, will be accepted until February 29, 2012.

For more information about Practical Nursing and other programs at Okanagan College visit www.okanagan.bc.ca.