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College of Nursing Launches INSPIRE Program in Estevan

For immediate release November 5, 2009

Lorna Butler, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan, today announced the official launch of INSPIRE, the College's rural distance education program. The acronym stands for Interprofessional Network for Students to Practice in Rural/Remote Environments.

INSPIRE is a prime example of the College of Nursing's leadership in access and innovation for nursing education. It is our goal, through collaboration with a wide range of partners, to deliver a program that makes effective use of the people resources and the physical infrastructure that is available throughout the province," said Butler at the program's official launch at St. Joseph's Hospital in Estevan.

The program will allow nursing students to live and work in smaller centres while continuing their regular studies. The program uses modern communications technology, including Skype and internet video connections to allow students to remotely access classes at the University of Saskatchewan.

"There are many ways in which the INSPIRE program will allow the College to show leadership in meeting the needs of the Saskatchewan public and nursing students. It provides our students with more options for places to do their practicums. It allows them to reduce the cost of their education by allowing them to carry out part of their education closer to where they live and work. By reaching out to more remote areas, it is making it easier for First Nations students to access a nursing career. It provides health care facilities in smaller centres with more support staff. And, by streamlining access to nursing education, it is helping to fill our province's need for more nursing graduates," said Butler.

Butler said that the INSPIRE plan will work towards expanding the program to other smaller cities, including Yorkton, Swift Current and Weyburn.

"We are proud to have St. Joseph's play host to this important innovation in the delivery of nursing education in Saskatchewan. It will help us improve the services we deliver to the people of the Estevan area while at the same time helping our nursing students receive solid training in real-world frontline healthcare," said Marga Cugnet, VP of Primary and Integrated Health Care for the Sun Country Health Region.

As part of the official launch ceremonies, Dean Butler presented St. Joseph's Hospital with a new laptop computer for the use of students accessing remote classes.

For further information, contact Anna Pacik, 306.221.6739