Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Arctic Needs More Nursing Students

Officials at Nunavut Arctic College (NAC) want to attract more people, especially Inuit, into the health care professions. While most NAC programs (such as the various Inuit art programs) are filled, only 5 students have signed up for 14 spots in the school's nursing program. Part of the problem, officials say, is that many high school grads must spend a year upgrading their math and science skills to qualify for the program. To attract more students, NAC recently hired a public affairs person to do outreach work with high school students across the territory. It will also offer courses in smaller communities so that students - often women with children - can stay closer to home.

Since I've been up to the Arctic twice, I can see that Nunavut, especially Iqaluit, is a growing community with lots of children. This will of course require more health care professional up there. It's not easy to recruit from the south so there should be more emphasis in developing their own health care network locally in the Arctic. Of course, it won't be easy since only 25% of high school students currently graduate so a big push is definitely required.

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