Major Rotary gift supports nursing education
A $100,000 gift from the Rotary Club of Kelowna Foundation Reichwald Fund will support the education of Registered Nurses (RNs) at Kelowna’s major post-secondary institutions.
Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) are each receiving $50,000 to support high-quality skills training and provide financial support for students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
“We are thrilled to support our future health care workers in Kelowna and throughout the Valley,” says Catherine Comben, Rotary Club of Kelowna Foundation Board Chair.
“We know that nursing care in our community is as diverse as it is vital. From Critical Care Nurses, Geriatric, Mental, RNs to LPNs - we need to support the specialist spaces they will train in, and support and celebrate their educational achievements.”
At Okanagan College, $30,000 of the gift will support the Our Students, Your Health campaign for a state-of-the-art Health Sciences Centre on its Kelowna campus. The $18.9-million Centre will create modern labs and education spaces for eight health care professions, including the BSN and Practical Nursing (LPN) program.
The remaining $20,000 will create two annual student awards of $2,000 each for BSN students.
“This gift will help the College to continue providing the highest quality of education by learning in a world-class facility. Our small class sizes, combined with new student support, will help students excel and be ready to serve our community,” says Helen Jackman, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director.
“We are very thankful for this generous gift at a time when we truly recognize the importance of skilled frontline nursing professionals. It will ensure high-quality nursing care continues in our region for decades to come.”
At UBCO, the $50,000 gift will create awards for BSN students in their third and fourth year of education. The support during the final years is critical, according to Professor Marie Tarrant, Director of UBCO’s School of Nursing.
“In years three and four the demand on our students is high, the clinical placements are intense and the content is demanding,” explains Tarrant, adding some students are mature with families and other responsibilities.
“We’re very grateful that these awards can help relieve the financial burden on the students so they can focus on the program.”
The BSN program was jointly-established by UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College in 2013, and recently received another seven years of accreditation by the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals — the regulator of nurse training in the province.
Students can complete years one and two at Okanagan College and are granted admission to UBCO to complete the final two years of the program.
Tarrant says the partnership between the two schools helps educate more Registered Nurses, which are in demand across the province. According to the BC Nurses Union, the province will require 25,000 new RNs by 2030to keep up with the health care demands.
“We have a great working relationship with all of our partners at Okanagan College,” says Tarrant.
“The students come across seamlessly, it works out really well.”
The Okanagan College Foundation is inviting the public to help reach its $5-million goal for the Our Students, Your Health campaign. The campaign will help Okanagan College complete construction of its new Health Sciences Centre, set to open later this fall. To learn more or to donate, visit OurStudentsYourHealth.ca.
Tags: OC Foundation, Health and Social Development, Practical Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
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