Someone wanting to become a nurse will no longer have to leave Lloydminster and area to complete their studies with a new deal for 16 seats between Lakeland College and the University of Saskatchewan.
The agreement was announced at the Lloydminster campus on Tuesday with officials and students present to celebrate the prospect of graduation of the first group in the spring of 2025.
Cassandra Surina is in her third year in the College’s nursing program. The Vermilion resident says the program is really wonderful.
“It gives people here the opportunity to complete their Bachelor of Science in nursing and become a registered nurse without having to travel to the big cities to get the schooling. So, it provides a lot more opportunities for everybody.”
Another facet under the Saskatchewan government is the student loan forgiveness program which Surina can also take advantage of.
Lakeland College’s president Dr. Alice Wainwright-Stewart says the idea has been on the cards for about two decades. She credits the input of Lloydminster MLA Colleen Young.
“I think probably a catalyst was our Colleen. Colleen could see the logic and she also knew information that we didn’t know about where there were other seats in the province. And so, she could go to bat for Lloydminster.”
Dean of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Solina Richter says it means a lot for the university to be able to expand its live where you learn values for the benefit of more students in rural areas.
“We can expand to the rural and remote areas and give students more access to quality education – that they will stay in the communities where they do their education,” says Richter.
At a cost of some $20,000 a year to become a nurse, students like Surina have expressed their delight at not having to move away from their families to pursue their dreams.
Presently there are some 20 clinical spaces at the Lloydminster Hospital and officials see the next steps as growing placements for the nurses to get on-the-job training at both Wainwright and Vermilion hospitals.