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College of Nursing

Aboriginal Initiatives

Northern Nursing Program

In September 2012, the College of Nursing began delivering the full, four year BSN program to students in Île-à-la-Crosse and La Ronge.  This was a response to a request from the Northern Labour Market Committee, an inter-agency group of northern Saskatchewan stakeholders, to address the health professional shortage and high nursing turnover rates in the Northern Administrative District (NAD). Through our program, we hope to educate a northern nursing workforce that will provide culturally competent care to northern residents and help minimize staff turnover in the northern health regions and First Nations Health Centres.

The College of Nursing works in collaboration with Northlands College to provide student services and classroom space for our northern students.  For more information on the northern nursing program , please  call Northlands College at 1-888-311-1185, or the University of Saskatchewan Aboriginal Nursing Advisor located in Prince Albert .

Northern Nursing Program FAQs

  1. How do I get into the program?
  2. How many nursing students will there be in the North?  Who is eligible?
  3. Where is the northern nursing program located?
  4. Where are our clinical placements?  How long do we need to leave our community for the clinical placement?
  5. Is the northern nursing program a distance learning program?
  6. What kind of funding is available for the program?
  7. Can I become a Nurse Practitioner or get my MN in the North?

1. How do I get into the program?
Like all University of Saskatchewan nursing students, northern students must complete a pre-professional first year of Arts and Science courses before being admitted into the College for three more years of Nursing classes.  In the NAD, the pre-professional year can be taken at Northlands College sites in La Ronge, Île-à-la-Crosse, Buffalo Narrows or Creighton, as well as at the NORTEP/NORPAC campus in La Ronge. 

Students must have English A30 and B30, Chemistry 30, Biology 30, and Math 30 (Foundations of Math or Pre-Calculus or Math B30, C30 is recommended) high school courses to be admitted into the pre-professional first year. 

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2. How many nursing students will there be in the North?  Who is eligible?
The College of Nursing has an annual intake of 15 seats in the North:   five in Île-à-la-Crosse and 10 in La Ronge. These seats are reserved for northern residents (those who have lived in the North for at least half their life or 10 years).  The College of Nursing also reserves 16.6% of its seats for Aboriginal applicants.  However, the northern program has a much higher Aboriginal student representation than that. Most applicants of Aboriginal descent will be accepted into the Northern Nursing Program if they achieve the minimum requirements, rather than competing within the entire provincial applicant pool.

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3. Where is the northern nursing program located?
In Île-à-la-Crosse the program is offered at the Integrated Services Centre, between the hospital and the high school.  In La Ronge, classes are offered at the main Northlands College campus and the clinical skills lab is offered at the Air Ronge site. Learn more

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4. Where are our clinical placements?  How long do we need to leave our community for the clinical placement?
Students will experience a variety of clinical placements throughout the program within an assortment of settings, such as schools, health centres and hospitals.  To obtain the appropriate experience needed to become a Registered Nurse, however, northern students will need to occasionally be placed at larger hospitals in the central part of the province, such as North Battleford and Meadow Lake, for up to four weeks.

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5. Is the northern nursing program a distance learning program?
The College of Nursing has campuses in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina and distributes our program to Yorkton and two northern sites - Île-à-la-Crosse and La Ronge.  All students learn through a “blended-delivery” model, meaning classes are taken face-to-face and by video conferencing, web conferencing, blackboard online and lecture capture.  In addition to these tools, the northern nursing program uses an innovative technology to teach students clinical skills: Remote Presence (RP) Telementoring. We use the RP7i, a ‘robot’, to allow our campus-based faculty to see, hear, interact with and provide instruction to northern students.  At the same time, a local lab instructor will be on site to support the students’ learning.  Tutors are also available to all nursing students.

Research conducted on the use of RP in clinical practice has shown that patients have an equivalent satisfaction level with assessment by RP as face-to-face.  Our nursing students have become very comfortable with the RP in a short time and we believe it is an effective tool conducive to teaching and learning.

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6. What kind of funding is available for the program?
Our northern students pay the same tuition costs as students in our other locations.  Students typically use a variety of funding sources to pay for their education, including Band funding for First Nation students, GDI funding for Metis and non-status Indians, student loans, scholarships & bursaries and their own savings.  Northern nursing students should be aware that the Government of Saskatchewan provides student loan forgiveness of up to $4,000 a year to a maximum of $20,000 for nurse and nurse practitioners working in rural/remote communities in Saskatchewan.

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7. Can I become a Nurse Practitioner or get my MN in the North?
The College of Nursing’s Master of Nursing (MN) program is online, so students can take it from anywhere they have access to a computer and the internet. Many of our MN students continue to practice part-time, while enrolled in the program.  Health regions in rural and remote areas may want to support two to three nurses taking the program at once, allowing the health region to form a support group and learning community.

Similarly, the Nurse Practitioner (NP) program can be taught largely through internet-based web conferencing, making it accessible to students across the province.

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