Yarmouth Nursing program gets boost from the province

Funding makes eight-seat expansion permanent

- July 5, 2021

Health and Wellness Minister Zach Churchill (far right) was in Yarmouth to announce new seats in Dalhousie's Nursing program in Yarmouth. (Communications Nova Scotia photo)
Health and Wellness Minister Zach Churchill (far right) was in Yarmouth to announce new seats in Dalhousie's Nursing program in Yarmouth. (Communications Nova Scotia photo)

An expansion to Dalhousie University’s Nursing program in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia is now permanent.

Nova Scotia’s Health and Wellness Minister Zach Churchill was in Yarmouth on Friday (July 2) to announce the province’s investment of $49,400 annually to fund eight additional first-year Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Nursing seats in Yarmouth. The expansion was previously only just temporary.

"We need more nurses, which is why we are significantly increasing the number of first-year nursing seats at Dalhousie University’s Yarmouth campus and Cape Breton University," said Churchill in a release, noting that 62 first-year seats recently added in Cape Breton are also being made permanent. “This means more people can complete their education here at home, and we will have more nurses to provide the care we need in the future.”

Given that registered nurses make up the largest portion of the province’s health workforce — more than 10,000 registered nurses — ensuring a steady supply of new nurses as current nurses retire is essential.

These combined 70 new seats represents the first increase in undergraduate nursing seats in 12 years, and the largest ever. There are now 471 total first-year nursing seats across the province — 33 of them in Dalhousie’s BSc program in Yarmouth, which since 1995 has offered students the opportunity to study nursing in southern Nova Scotia.

“Nurses play a critical role in the health-care system,” said Ruth Martin-Misener, director of Dal’s School of Nursing and assistant dean research in the Faculty of Health. “I’m delighted that the Nova Scotia government has made the eight new first-year nursing seats at Dalhousie’s Yarmouth campus permanent. This investment will give more students from outside of Halifax the opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing close to home and bolster the ranks of nurses across the province.”

Since the pandemic, interest in the nursing profession has steadily increased, with many more students applying to nursing programs across the country, according to Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union.

“We believe it’s the result of the public seeing firsthand how greatly nurses contribute to the health of their communities,” said Hazelton. “I’m very pleased to see that government has responded by making these seats permanent. We welcome the relief and expertise these additional nurses will provide to the health-care system in the not-too-distant future.”

Learn more: Dalhousie Nursing - Study in Yarmouth


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