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Student nurses will soon hit Manitoba hospitals as paid employees

Senior nursing students in our province will soon have the opportunity to be paid while delivering health services for Manitobans. Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced Monday that hospitals throughout the province will soon welcome third and fourth year nursing students as they join care teams within surgical, medicine and mental health units.

“Our government is committed to building a better health-care system for all Manitobans that includes a workforce that is able to care for our health needs with skills and compassion,” says Gordon, at the launch of the province’s first undergraduate nurse employee (UNE) recruitment event. “This initiative allows our nurses of the future to gain some real clinical experience and build real connections with care teams within our province, which we hope will result in them staying here long after they complete their education.”

The UNE is an initiative already in place in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. It provides senior nursing students the opportunity to work in their chosen career prior to their graduation, under the guidance and supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or registered psychiatric nurse (RPN).

“As nursing students, we all learn incredible skills in the classroom and during our clinical placements and practicums, but nothing can compare to working alongside a dedicated team of highly skilled health-care providers to really give you a taste for your future career,” says Lanette Siragusa, Chief Nursing Officer and provincial lead of health system and integration, Shared Health. “These undergraduate nurse employees will be able to put their education into practice, gain valuable experience and have earnings to support the ongoing costs of their education while giving themselves an advantage when they graduate and start applying for jobs.”

To apply, nursing students must be enrolled in an approved nursing program leading to entry to practice as an RN or RPN. They must also have a minimum of 450 hours of clinical practice. The positions, which are casual evenings, days and weekends, offer a competitive salary and the opportunity for students to pick up full-time hours during their summer and winter holidays. Successful applicants will support in-patient care in a medical, surgical, or mental health setting, as long as they have completed a clinical placement in that specific area of care.

To support their ongoing learning and provide appropriate supervision and mentorship opportunities, UNEs will be approved for care settings with a stable workforce and level of activity.

“Nursing students can work in these meaningful positions that help them gain confidence while adding another layer of support to care teams during high-activity periods,” says Gordon. “This initiative builds upon our government’s commitment to train and hire more nurses while supporting students with a passion to provide care for patients to do just that during the later years of their education.”

UNEs also have a membership with the Manitoba Nurses Union, which means the hours they work count towards their seniority, giving them a competitive advantage when applying for jobs after they graduate.

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