Friday, May 14, 2010

Manitoba Graduates Record Number of Doctors

The University of Manitoba has graduated a record number of doctors this year, and hopes are high that they will stay in the province to practice.

Dean of Medicine Dr. Dean Sandham said 104 medical students collected their diplomas after a Thursday ceremony at the school's Bannatyne Avenue campus.

According to Sandham, 63 of them have agreed to do their residency training in the province.

He said it took a lot of effort to convince that many to remain.

"[It took a] tremendous effort on the part of Manitoba Health and our provincial government to make this a desirable province … to do residency," Sandham said.

The government has made efforts to boost salaries for doctors in recent years, and there are also programs in place to forgive as much as $40,000 in student loans if a graduate chooses to work in Manitoba.

The average annual salary for a family physician in the province is $200,000. Specialists average about $250,000.

Class valedictorian Joe Kim wants to stay and work in Manitoba, which is what the provincial government is hoping grads do. (CBC)Class valedictorian Joe Kim said he's eager to work as a family doctor in Portage la Prairie, a town about 80 kilometres west of Winnipeg.

"I just love rural family medicine. I get distracted very easily and get bored really easily," Kim said with a smile.

"So I need a little bit of everything, and that's what rural family medicine offers - a little bit of everything. You get to work in emergency, family clinic, maybe assist in [an] operating room, it's just really fun," he said.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010


May 13, 2010

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Premier Announces New Practical Nursing Diploma Program During National Nursing Week

The practical nursing (PN) program at Assiniboine Community College (ACC) will now provide graduates with a diploma to recognize their important role in Manitoba's health-care system, Premier Greg Selinger, Advanced Education and Literacy Minister Diane McGifford and Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

"Today during National Nursing Week we are moving forward to strengthen medical education opportunities throughout the province," said Selinger.  "These changes will help better prepare students for their crucial role in Manitoba's health-care system with broader knowledge and experience." 

"By moving to the diploma program, we will ensure that Manitoba's practical nursing graduates receive appropriate academic recognition for the demands of their training program," said McGifford. "Our strategic investments in health-care education have resulted in a range of opportunities that continue to encourage Manitobans to pursue this challenging and rewarding field."

Manitoba has invested $400,000 this year to help transition the PN program at ACC from a certificate to a diploma. The curriculum has been updated and will be introduced in classes starting this fall. The new diploma program will increase the total number of practicum hours required to graduate to 880 from 800. It will also require graduates to complete an additional 120 classroom hours in microbiology, nutrition and sociology. 

"We have trained thousands of nurses since 1999 who have brought their expertise and compassion to the front lines of patient care," said Oswald.  "We will continue to invest in nurse training, recruitment and retention initiatives that strengthen our health-care system, even in these challenging economic times."

Over the last 10 years, nearly 4,000 students have enrolled in the PN program alone. There are currently 190 practical nurse training seats available, split between Brandon (70 seats), Winnipeg (70 seats) and two rural rotating sites of 25 seats each. Admissions to the new diploma program opened in March and the first group of graduates is expected in 2012.

"ACC has been a leader in practical nursing education for over 30 years," said Karen Hargreaves, dean of the school of health and human services at Assiniboine Community College.  "We believe the diploma program will ensure that our graduates will continue to be well positioned to meet the demands of the ever-changing health-care industry."

The ministers noted that practical nurses are an important part of the health-care system whose role includes assessing and treating health conditions, promoting health and preventing illness.

"LPNs play a vital role in Manitoba's health-care system and these changes in education will allow for greater autonomy in practice," said Lynn Marks, president of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba. "The role of the LPN continues to evolve through education and training to respond to the changing needs of Manitobans and our health-care system."

There are 2,532 more nurses working in Manitoba today than in 1999, the ministers noted. The number of nurse education seats has almost doubled in that time. 

The province continues to build on the Manitoba Nursing Strategy, first introduced in March 2000. For more information on the province's nursing strategy, visit