Sept. 29, 2021

Registered nursing degree launches at Wainwright Health Centre

University of Calgary, Alberta Health Services offer new rural health-care program
UCalgary Nursing program
The new UCalgary Nursing program lets undergraduate students in the Wainwright area stay in their community for the entirety of their degree. Adrian Shellard, for University of Calgary

Wainwright and area residents interested in earning a university degree to become a registered nurse can now do so without leaving their home community.

Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services (AHS) has partnered with UCalgary to offer a four-year pilot Bachelor in Nursing (BN) Rural Community degree program.

UCalgary will provide delivery of the program, while AHS provides classroom space and hands-on training opportunities at Wainwright Health Centre.

“Expanding access to post-secondary education for rural and remote Albertans is a key priority under the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy, part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan,” says Demetrios Nicolaides, Alberta minister of advanced education.

“This partnership is wonderful news not only for those in east-central Alberta who can now study, live and work in the community they love, but also for the countless people who will benefit from the outstanding care these nurses will provide when they graduate.”

“We know there are challenges in the recruitment and retention of skilled nurses in our rural communities,” says Janice Stewart, chief zone officer for AHS Central Zone.

“This new program reduces the barriers to learning and allows interested Wainwright-area residents to pursue a post-secondary nursing education at home. We hope, upon graduation, these new RNs will consider a health-care career in Wainwright.”

“We are thrilled to partner with AHS and the Wainwright community on this initiative to develop and enhance our rural nursing workforce,” UCalgary Nursing Dean Sandra Davidson comments.

“Through this new route, students in rural communities will be able to complete our BN program without needing to relocate to Calgary. That reduces geographic barriers to nursing education for potential students who reside outside main centres. We are starting our first program in Wainwright but we hope to be able to expand this option to other rural communities in coming years.”

In the program’s first year, a hybrid model features online learning and virtual course delivery through in-person instructors at UCalgary Nursing, with Wainwright students connected via video. In the second through fourth years, clinical and hands-on classes and labs will complement virtual and online learning.

The first cohort of eight students for this year began on Sept. 7. The application period is now open for new students to begin the 2022/2023 school year. 

For more information on the program, visit the web page

UCalgary Nursing program