Seven Generations partners with Lakehead University to provide nursing entry program
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI) and Lakehead University are partnering this September to provide the All Nation Nurses Entry Program (ANNEP) for northern students to encourage Treaty Three members to pursue careers as Registered Nurses while remaining in their communities.
Brigitte Loeppky, Program Coordinator at Seven Generations Education Institute, shared that ANNEP, which is open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous applicants, is a nine-month program designed to equip students with the necessary skills required for entry into Lakehead University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree program.
“This nine-month, two-semester, certificate is specifically to meet the prerequisites to enroll in to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program. To get in to a nursing degree program, the prerequisites are very high. They’re all high level high school credits all in the sciences and math. When we’re young we don’t necessarily think we’re going to go in to medicine or nursing where they require those high level courses, so you may not have those on your transcript. It’s difficult to be able to take, in Northwestern Ontario, those high level courses. They’re not always accessible depending on where you live, so this two-semester program will allow individuals to meet the prerequisites, those high level science, math, and English courses, that are required to get directly into a degree program,” she explained.
A media release from SGEI and Lakehead University shared, “The curriculum for the program is based on Lakehead University’s Native Nurses Entry Program and attempts to address Indigenous health and education inequities. It directly responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action 23 of increasing the number of Aboriginal professionals working in the health-care field.”
On top of getting chemistry, biology, math, and English prerequisites, ANNEP students will also be learning a mixture of traditional and Western medical practices, culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal patients, protection and maintenance of optimal health, and physical and emotional support of patients.
“We infuse Anishinaabe principals and teachings within the curriculum. Our in-house instructors have received specific cultural training from Seven Generations’ cultural facilitators to be able to teach the students about Anishinaabe principals and teachings. When the students graduate, they’ll have that knowledge and be able to provide quality culturally-competent care,” said Loeppky.
The ANNEP program is being delivered at Lakehead's Thunder Bay campus and SGEI’s Fort Frances, Kenora and Sioux Lookout campuses through telepresence technology, which is a more reliable method of connecting to Lakehead University professors.
“It’s a high quality sophisticated type of video conferencing where the bandwidth is more predictable and more reliable, so you’re not going to have disruptions in the classroom where you’re going to lose reception with your professor in the middle of the class. We’ve also blended the teleconferencing with in-classroom instructors in each class. Even though there’s going to be a connection with the professor from Lakehead University, Seven Generations also has an instructor in the class that’s working in collaboration with the professor to deliver the curriculum,” said Loeppky.
All of the Seven Generations campuses, including Sioux Lookout, will also feature a cutting edge simulation lab where students will receive hands-on learning before moving on to real patients.
“Each one of the campuses will have a full state-of-the-art simulation lab for instructional purposes, which is a huge benefit. Hands on learning has been identified as a best practice educational method, so any skills that the students will need to learn before actually implementing it, or delivering it to a live patient, they’re going to practice it in the simulation lab and make sure that they can do it safely before they actually work on a patient. It’s a huge quality and risk management strategy, and it also builds confidence in students because they feel confident in the skills that they’ve learned and they’ll be able to safely administer them to patients,” said Loeppky.
The program is starting to fill up, but Loeppky shared that there are still spots available for those interested in becoming registered nurses.
“We have good numbers; however, we still do have open spots available. This is a great opportunity to be able to deliver a University level program, and our intent is to work with Lakehead University to then deliver, next year, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) Program as well. This kind of opportunity doesn’t happen often in remote areas, such as Fort Frances, Kenora, and Sioux Lookout, so we hope that individuals who are interested in becoming registered nurses hear this program and enroll,” she said.
“Travelling far away from home to complete a program like this serves as a huge barrier for our learners. Opening doors to a rewarding career that starts in a student’s own community provides opportunities they may otherwise not have pursued,” said Brent Tookenay, CEO of Seven Generations Education Institute, in the media release.
“We would like to see an increased number of Indigenous nurses working in Northwestern Ontario. We hope that this program welcomes more Indigenous learners into the BScN program and the nursing workforce.” said Karen McQueen, Lakehead University Associate Professor and Director of the School of Nursing, in the media release.
For more information on the ANNEP program or to apply online, visit www.7generations.org.