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A new partnership between Athabasca University and Northern Lakes College will help address a critical need for registered nurses in rural Alberta. The flexibility of online learning at both institutions allows students to work and learn from their home communities.

The partnership creates a new strategic pathway for graduates of the Practical Nurse program delivered by Northern Lakes College to enter Athabasca University’s Post-LPN Bachelor of Nursing program. This strategic alliance helps licensed practical nurses advance their skills and education, and ultimately become eligible for certification as registered nurses.

The 60 new seats were created through $923,090 in funding from the Government of Alberta, and will also require support from Alberta Health Services.

Reeve Murray Kerik applauded the post-secondary partnership for its success in creating and funding a local pathway to nursing certification.

“It’s no secret that we face chronic healthcare service level deficiencies in rural Alberta. By leveraging distance learning and providing tutoring services and other learning supports, we empower local students to advance their skills and work to attain their Registered Nurse certifications while remaining in the community."
Reeve Murray Kerik

"This is a model that makes sense in rural Alberta because it makes healthcare education more attainable, and it keeps these valued skill sets close to home," continued Reeve Kerik. "I commend Northern Lakes College and Athabasca University for their out-of-the-box thinking, and I applaud the Province for their foresight in funding this initiative via its recent investment in post-secondary learning.”

The online delivery models of both Athabasca University and Northern Lakes College make for a natural partnership.

The Practical Nurse program at Northern Lakes College is offered primarily online, using the College’s Supported Distance Learning model, to students across the College service region, which spans from Fox Creek to Athabasca in the south, to the Alberta-Northwest Territories border in the north.

Similarly, Athabasca University’s Post-LPN Bachelor of Nursing program is delivered online, making it a viable option for students in the Northern Lakes College region.

“This collaboration between Athabasca University and Northern Lakes College is a wonderful example of post-secondary institutions working together, with the support of our provincial government, to help licensed practical nurses become registered nurses while working and learning online from their home communities," commented Dr. Alex Clark, President of Athabasca University.

“Cooperation is key to helping address the critical shortage of health-care workers in Alberta and across Canada."
Dr. Alex Clark

Further details about the Practical Nurse and Post-LPN Bachelor of Nursing programs, can be found on the Northern Lakes College and Athabasca University websites respectively.

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