U of R and Sask Polytech celebrating successful nursing program collaboration

By Costa Maragos Posted: May 7, 2018 1:00 p.m.

The Sask Polytech/U of R collaborative nursing program will see its 1000th student graduate at the Spring 2018 Convocation
The Sask Polytech/U of R collaborative nursing program will see its 1000th student graduate at the Spring 2018 Convocation Photo courtesy of U of R/Sask Polytech nursing

You would think Leanna Gustafson’s fear of needles would hardly make for a career in nursing.

Not so for Gustafson who, despite her needle phobia, is well on her way to a nursing career.

“I have an awful fear of needles and when I was younger the compassion and the care that my local public health nurse demonstrated was inspiring,” says Gustafson, a third-year student in the U of R/Sask Polytech Collaborative Nursing Program in Saskatoon. “She did more than just give me the required injections. She calmed me down, talked to me, got to know me, and gave me candy as a reward which of course helped smooth the way.”

Gustafson is fully immersed in her studies in Saskatoon, and like thousands of nurses across Canada is excited to celebrate National Nursing week May 7 – May 13.

As a student, Gustafson can appreciate the excellent education she is receiving. In addition to her studies, Gustafson takes an active role as a student advocate, volunteering as Director of Communications for the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association.  

“The best part of my nursing education has been the opportunity to learn from amazingly supportive faculty, from knowledgeable nurses in the clinical setting, and from diverse nursing student peers,” says Gustafson who will graduate with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 2019.

Nursing Week Photo 2
National Nursing Week speaks to the expanding roles nurses play in the healthcare system. Photo courtesy of U of R/Sask Polytech nursing

This year’s nursing week theme is #yesthisisnursing which speaks to the expanding traditional and non-traditional roles of nurses.

“Nursing Week creates public awareness of the many contributions provided by registered nurses,” says Dr. david Gregory, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the U of R. “Importantly, the public comes to know that registered nurses work in a variety of settings including acute care, long-term care, community and public health, home care, specialty practice, an in advance practice nursing. Registered nurses also comprise the largest sector of healthcare providers in the healthcare system. Thus, it is only fitting that they are recognized and celebrated during nursing week.”

The Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) is a four-year degree offered in Regina, Saskatoon with local cohort intakes in Swift Current and North Battleford. Students choose where they want to study. The degree program is practice-focused and student-centered.

For the school years 2017/2018 it’s expected 319 students will have graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

The program will achieve a milestone at the Spring 2018 Convocation when it will celebrate over 1000 total program graduates since its inception.

“Sask Polytech is proud to partner with the University of Regina in the delivery of the SCBScN program,” says Sandra Blevins, Dean of the School of Nursing and School of Health Sciences at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. “Our graduates play an important role in the delivery of quality patient and family-centered health care. Students love the focused clinical time. They also speak very highly of our dedicated faculty. This validates that the SCNScN program is delivering an excellent student experience.”

Graduates of the collaborative nursing program have a high regard for the education they’ve received.

Shalla Sharma works in the surgical unit of Saskatoon City Hospital. She graduated in July 2017.

Originally from North Battleford, Sharma worked in restaurant management before moving on to banking where she worked for about six years. As much as she enjoyed the work, she felt something was missing. A job in a long-term care facility convinced her that nursing was her calling and enrolled in the program in Saskatoon.

“I had a wonderful experience. The program I took was very supportive,” says Sharma. “I became immersed in the program and became very connected. I can’t say enough about the instructors and staff who supported me and how wonderful they are to work with.”

Sharma says National Nursing Week serves as a reminder to people of nurses’ contributions to health care.

“Nursing week is an opportune time for people to celebrate the nurses in their life. There are a lot of us, so most people know a nurse and have asked for advice at one point or another-both formally and informally. I’m honoured to be a part of this profession that supports people when they are vulnerable. Of course those who have been impacted by excellent nursing care want to share in the celebration.”

A sentiment echoed by Gustafson.

“Nurses have an integral role on the healthcare team,” says Gustafson. “We have the most opportunities to see and interact with our patients compared to the other disciplines involved in their care. We observe them sleeping, eating, and interacting with family. We have assessment skills that allow us to interpret their behaviour and medical information paired with the skills to make timely decisions so we can provide quality care. This window into our patients allows us to be their advocate and to communicate their holistic needs with the rest of the team.”

Interested in making a difference in healthcare? Follow the links here for more information on the nursing programs at Sask Polytech and the U of R.