|November 12, 1999||Volume 7, Number 6|
Funding for extra nursing students still not set
Six months after College of Nursing faculty voted to conditionally approve a provincial request to hike the annual quota of students admitted to nursing training to 260 from 180 per year, the U of S is still unclear on how the government plans to pay for the additional programming.
"We have supplied them with the budget implications, and were waiting for a reply," Academic Vice-President Michael Atkinson said last week.
The provincial government had asked the University, because of an apparent demand for nurses in Saskatchewan, to approve the increase to the first-year intake of students.
The Nursing faculty voted in May to approve the increase to 260 per year from the current quota of 180, "with the proviso that sufficient additional funding be provided to accommodate the increased number of students."
Nursing students take most of their first two years of study at SIAST (Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology) and then take third and fourth years through the U of S with most at the Saskatoon campus but some taking those classes in Regina.
Atkinson said apparently the province wants the Regina offering of classes by the U of S to continue, though it adds costs to the program.
Atkinson also said there is an exit option for nursing students after their third year of studies, when they could take a nursing diploma, rather than finishing fourth year and receiving a degree.
He said the government apparently wants this option to continue, though most students, along with the College of Nursing and the nursing profession appear to feel the degree is preferable.
Atkinson said the University is anxious to nail down program funding details with the province.
"We want to be co-operative with the government and their planning process, but we cannot shift our resources toward this," he said.
Dean of Nursing Yvonne Brown said the first intake of the higher number of students already took place this September at SIAST, and she wants to know what happens in terms of funding and program details when they reach the U of S in the fall of 2001.
Just as important, she said, is what the government wants to see happen to the program numbers in the longer-term.
"We cant bump them up and down," Brown said.
She said she understands that SIAST has received extra funding from the province for their additional nursing students this fall.
Meanwhile, "were in limbo here," not knowing what the details are, Brown said, noting that changes to programs must go through U of S Council and funding matters must be approved by the Board of Governors.
The Dean of Nursing is particularly concerned because of the difficult situation her College is in for program space.
Brown said there are currently 320 students in total in third and fourth year, including not just those at the Saskatoon campus, but also those in Regina.
"We use SIAST space in Regina," which she noted will be moving when Wascana Institute moves to the Plains Health Centre facility in the near future.
But the nursing students on campus are spread out using facilities the Nursing College has obtained in the Health Sciences Building and Ellis Hall.
Brown said the College is badly in need of its own facility, and she will tour University capital planning committee members around her area later this month "hoping to impress this upon them."
"Weve been 60 years without a building," she said.
The School of Nursing was launched in 1938 and became a College in 1973.
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