A new two-year nursing degree program at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) will provide more healthcare education opportunities in the North and help improve access to care for patients across the region. The program is an expansion of the Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program (NBNP), which launched at the UNBC Peace River-Liard campus in Fort St. John in the fall of 2021. It will be housed in the Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) in downtown Prince George where renovations are already underway to create new teaching spaces, including a lab.
The NBNP expansion is part of an increase in nursing seats announced by the provincial government in 2022. The Province is adding 602 new nursing seats to public post-secondary institutions throughout the province to help support the health-care needs of British Columbians.
“Nurses are essential to our health-care system,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “Expanding the Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program will allow more people to study closer to home, removing barriers for British Columbians pursuing an in-demand career in health care.” The program runs over five consecutive semesters and will support 48 students in Prince George at full capacity; the first students will begin their studies this September.
“The expansion of the Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program underlines our ongoing commitment to support health services in northern B.C. while providing education that emphasizes the unique needs of rural and remote care,” said UNBC President Dr. Geoff Payne. “Training more healthcare professionals in the North means more local graduates will stay in the North and help meet one of the most pressing needs this region faces.”
The program adds to the longstanding excellence of the four-year Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program, a valued partnership between UNBC, the College of New Caledonia and Coast Mountain College. That program provides unique regional learning opportunities and pathways, and remains a core program within the School of Nursing at UNBC.
The new NBNP program provides a different entry point to the profession for learners and provides opportunities for those who may have started their post-secondary journey on a different path before considering a career in nursing. Students applying must have a minimum of 60 university transfer credits, including 24 credits of specific prerequisite coursework. Priority seating will be available to Indigenous candidates and applications to the program are now being accepted.
Individuals interested in learning more about the new NBNP program are invited to attend a special open house in the Teaching & Learning Centre building atrium at UNBC’s Prince George campus on Tuesday, Feb.28 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.