National Nursing Week: Honouring nurses in the community

This year’s National Nursing Week – May 9 to 15 – recognizes nurses in a patient’s healthcare journey. As reflected in the theme #WeAnswerTheCall, National Nursing Week is an occasion to honour nurses and their dedication, resilience, and compassion in caring for the community.

“This sort of acknowledgment and support is important,” says Shelley Fraser, Associate Dean of Nursing at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) — and it reminds nurses they’re part of a global community.

“When first year BCIT Nursing students start their program, we tell them how it’s important for them to look around at their peers and recognize the value of these relationships,” says Shelley. “I emphasize, ‘the people you are meeting are going to be your support system, friends, and team.’ We all have each other’s backs throughout our educational journey and in the workforce.”

This is especially relevant as BCIT offers one of the largest Nursing programs in BC, with 9 post-graduate programs related to specialty nursing needs in BC.

What it means: #WeAnswerTheCall

“There’s a philosophy in nursing you don’t sit down if no one else is sitting down,” says Kathy Kennedy, Associate Dean of Specialty Nursing at BCIT. “Basically, it means, as nurses, we just keep going and going, and pitching in until things are done. We support each other.”

This type of courage and commitment to service is key in a profession that deals with life and death situations.

Over the past years, Kathy notes, nurses have come out of retirement, her fellow nursing faculty at BCIT has juggled educating students with working on the frontlines providing healthcare — and through everything, they’ve rallied.

“Our goal is to ensure graduates are well-prepared with the expertise and capabilities to work in a multitude of healthcare settings across BC,” says Kathy. “It is also important for us to provide tools and resources to support the demands of the healthcare industry.”

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kathy and the Specialty Nursing faculty came together to create Focused Education Preparation Advancing Frontline Registered Nurses (FEPA) — a fast-tracked, educational course specifically designed to upskill people on the frontlines so they could better serve patients with COVID-19. More than 12,000 nurses and healthcare providers in Canada and the United States have the taken the course.

Faculty from the BCIT Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program also came together to develop nursing open educational resources (OER). Over the past two years, they developed a number of OER projects, including a major textbook adaptation, four virtual simulations, and six skills videos, that provide much needed resources to support the learning needs of all nursing students across the province. Their instrumental role led them to receive the BCcampus Award for Excellence in Open Education.

New Health Sciences Centre provides a transformative, applied learning experience

With a new Health Sciences Centre set to officially open in fall 2022, Nursing and healthcare students at BCIT are primed for a transformative, applied learning experience.

The four-storey, 9,909 square-metre (106,660 square-feet) building is a state-of-the-art teaching facility designed to advance teaching and learning technologies and significantly increase training capacity for key in-demand healthcare professionals. This new building is also one of the most sustainable and accessible building on the Burnaby campus.

Cutting-edge technology, such as virtual and augmented reality systems and 3D learning settings, mimics real-world scenarios and accommodates personalized and collaborative learning. Students are more effectively prepared for clinical roles through technology-based learning experiences and sophisticated simulation environments.

“An example of this technology is Virtual Pulse, a digital platform developed at BCIT to provide virtual nurse training,” explains Shelley. “Through this simulation, students gain knowledge to deal with a variety of scenarios, reduce errors, and improve patient safety.”

Other innovative technology includes simulations that uniquely replicate hospital workflows and electronic health recording stations.

Shelley adds, “When you know what to expect, and you’re prepared, it makes a difference.”

Healthcare professionals are at the heart of our communities—improving the quality of life for all and providing care for our most vulnerable. In addition to a new Health Sciences Centre that provides an enhanced learning environment for Nursing and healthcare students, BCIT is also expecting an expansion of 288 Bachelor of Nursing seats over the next three years to meet industry demands. Increasing capacity of Nursing seats opens the door for more students to be a part of a dynamic career that is critical to the BC healthcare system.

BCIT is a major producer of nurses and other health professionals who are the cornerstone of the BC health system. Learn more about Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Specialty Nursing programs available at BCIT.

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