U.S. College to Offer Nursing Degree Option in New Brunswick

New Brunswick has more than 1,000 vacant nursing positions, according to recent data from the regional health networks. To help tackle the problem, the province has given conditional approval to a new program for nursing students. (Credit: CBC)

Those considering a career in nursing may soon have more education options in New Brunswick.

Beal University, a private college in Maine, has been given conditional approval by the province to offer a bachelor of science in nursing, through a combination of online courses and clinical training completed at the Sackville Memorial Hospital.

“We’re doing renovations in our partnership with Sackville Hospital,” said Holly McKnight, president of Beal University Canada.

“The community has been wonderful and there will be classes and labs set up there, fully furnished with high-end simulation mannequins and all of the equipment that’s required in order to do clinical training.”

Holly McKnight
Holly McKnight, president of Beal University Canada, said the cost of tuition will be $42,000, in total, which she said is comparable to four-year programs offered by Canadian public universities. (Submitted by Holly Knight)

According to McKnight, it will be a 30-month program, with an online component, followed by clinical training and a practicum placement. The plan is to be ready to receive students for clinical training at the hospital by January 2024, she said.

When asked how much it will cost to set up a section of the hospital for training and whether it will be the government or the university who will pay the costs associated with it, McKnight said, “Details on cost are being finalized.”

Last fall, the government announced a $6,000 “incentive grant” to any New Brunswick students choosing to enrol at Beal in the U.S. “Guaranteed employment upon graduation” was offered along with an “agreement to return to NB and work as an RN for a minimum of 1 year upon graduation.”

The president of Beal University Canada said they are finalizing details in order to eventually hold their nursing program’s clinical training at Sackville Memorial Hospital. (Credit: CBC)

McKnight said the cost of tuition will be $42,000, in total, which she said is comparable to four-year programs offered by Canadian public universities.

The school is working on obtaining approval from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, she said.

The commission confirmed in an email that the institutional assessment is underway, but the program assessment will only begin when they receive the program proposal from the school.

Oulton College, a private college based in Moncton, also has a bachelor of science in nursing listed as under review by the higher education commission.

Nursing degrees are also offered at the University of New Brunswick and Université de Moncton.

John Higham, a former mayor of Sackville, is in favour of using the local hospital to train nurses. (Credit: Tori Weldon/CBC)

Horizon Health Network and the New Brunswick Nurses Union were not available for comment.

John Higham, the co-chair of the Rural Health Action Network in Sackville, said that while there are still a lot of unknown details about the new program, he thinks nurses receiving training at a rural hospital such as Sackville Memorial is a good thing.

“We also need nurses in smaller places, and different types of services in rural areas,” said Higham.

“We’re hoping that that’s kind of an exposure when you become a professional nurse that you’ll have that kind of a background, and we’ll see more and more nurses want to go into some of the smaller towns, villages and hospitals.”

Article by: Vanessa Moreau, CBC New Brunswick in Moncton

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