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Celebrating the First Yorkton BSN Program Graduates

June 8, 2017

January 27, 2014: The College of Nursing announces plans to deliver the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in Yorkton, in partnership with Parkland College and Sunrise Health Region. Fast forward to today – June 8th – and here we are at convocation, celebrating the first four BSN graduates from the Yorkton site. Congratulations Jessica Funk, Shelby Hershmiller, Eric McDowell and Jesslyn Schigol!

The College of Nursing truly believes students should have the opportunity to ‘learn where they live’ and until September 2014, students in the Yorkton area completed their pre-professional year at Parkland, but then had to relocate to Saskatoon, Regina or Prince Albert to complete years 2 thru 4 in the College of Nursing. By offering the complete undergraduate nursing program in Yorkton, students are able to remain in the community, be with their families and continue working during their studies.

“I offer my sincerest congratulations to our Yorkton graduates, as they make history today being the first students to complete the entire Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in Yorkton,” said Dr. Lynn Jansen, Associate Dean Southern Saskatchewan Campus who oversees the Yorkton site. “We acknowledge the leadership of these students in charting new directions at a distributed education site and we thank them for their patience and perseverance that has got them here today.”

Graduate Eric McDowell had this to say about being in Yorkton. “Taking the program at the Yorkton site with small class sizes was very beneficial to my learning. At times, it seemed as though we were receiving one-on-one instruction. Being from Yorkton, I did not have to move or rent a home in another city and best of all, I got to see my family each and every day when I got home. Another benefit of completing my program in Yorkton was not having to look for a new job to help pay bills in a different city... I was able to keep my current job and fortunately, I had a very supportive employer who allowed me to work when I could.”

Without the support of Parkland College and Sunrise Health Region, the College of Nursing wouldn’t have been able to bring this program to Yorkton. "This is a major milestone for Parkland College and for our region," said President Dwayne Reeve. "These students are trailblazers who have paved the way for future nursing graduates at Parkland College." Dr. Gwen Machnee, Coordinator of University Programs and Applied Research at Parkland College, says the four-year nursing program has added so much to the College. "People who would not have been able to consider a career as a Registered Nurse before are now able to study and work in their own communities without disrupting their family life. We are so proud of these graduates. They have set the pace for future students with their hard work and determination."

Roberta Wiwcharuk, Vice President of Integrated Health Services with Sunrise Health Region, offers congratulations to the new graduates. “I am so proud of each one of you for your commitment, dedication and passion to complete your Bachelor of Science in Nursing. You are the first graduating class in Yorkton, as part of the ‘Learn Where You Live’ initiative. The partnership between the University of Saskatchewan, Parkland College and Sunrise Health Region made this possible. I hope you have had a positive learning experience and I wish each one of you a fulfilling and rewarding career in nursing.”

Representatives from the College of Nursing, Parkland College, Sunrise Health Region, Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association and Saskatchewan Union of Nurses gathered together to celebrate this historical achievement with graduates and their families at a luncheon on April 28th in Yorkton.

Congratulations once again Jessica, Shelby, Eric and Jesslyn – As you enter the nursing profession, we look forward to hearing great things about the Yorkton BSN Class of 2017!