Red River College is bringing it's newly developed Bachelor of Nursing program to rural Manitoba. The institution announced it's plans earlier this week and Karen Wall, Chair of Nursing Studies at Red River, says the Diploma Nursing program was a success in rural Manitoba and when the Degree program was developed they kept that connection in mind. The college recently obtained Degree granting status and Wall says the Diploma program is being wrapped up and within two years the Bachelor program will be the only Nursing course offered through Red River .
Starting in August 2011 the program will be offered in six rural communities, they are Gimli, Portage La Prairie, Dauphin, Winkler, Neepawa and Steinbach. Wall notes there is only enough funding in place to hold the course at four sites at a time and a rotation pattern has been established for the next ten years. She adds the program will rotate between Neepawa and Dauphin and Winkler and Steinbach and look like this:

August 2011: Gimli, Portage La Prairie, Dauphin and Winkler

August 2013: Gimli, Portage La Prairie, Neepawa and Steinbach

This rotation has been designed to carry through August 2021.

Wall says when deciding which communities to hold the program the college considered two things, a sufficient clinical practice in the area of a level of complexity for registered nurse education and the capacity to run video streaming for classroom teaching.

The applicants for the Bachelor of Nursing program are Licensed Practical Nurses looking to expand their education and Wall says they will enter the program at the beginning of the second year. She notes it's a four year academic program but it is delivered over three calendar years, adding instead of eight month instalments it will be ten months, allowing the students to complete the program in close to three years. Wall adds the rural students will take classes together with the students at the Winnipeg campus through video conferencing with aides at the site to help with questions and says they will do their clinic practice in their own communities.

Wall says offering the Bachelor program in rural areas will allow L.P.N.s who already have families and are employed in those communities the chance to obtain another level of nursing without having to leave. She adds the big advantage for the communities themselves is that these are home-grown people taking the class so they have a vested interest in the area. There are eight available spots at each site.