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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – City council is wanting to further discuss the possibility of bringing a nursing school to the North Peace Region.

Acting Mayor Byron Stewart brought forth the notice of motion before council after meetings with the Ministry of Advanced Education in Vancouver a month ago.

Currently there are two post-secondary schools near Fort St. John that offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Program: the University of Northern B.C. in Prince George and the Grande Prairie Regional College. Of the other two post-secondary institutions in the area, Northern Lights College and the College of New Caledonia only offer a Diploma in Practical Nursing program. UNBC does have small satellite campus at the NLC campus in Fort St. John, but the nursing program is not among those currently offered.

Acting Mayor Byron Stewart said, “What I would like to see happen after meetings with Melanie Mark of the Ministry of [Advanced] Education, is that we pull our region together to discuss moving forward on a nursing school. By region I’m referring to the post secondary institution taking charge. Complication of turf or direction needs to be addressed.”

Stewart added, “I would like to have a meeting including council, decision makers from the Northern Lights College, Northern Health and Area B and C Directors at the next council meeting to discuss if this is possible or if it’s a pipe dream.”

“The biggest focus is the post secondary school leaders and Northern Health need to be at that meeting. Kathy Ulrich of Northern Health is pulling together stats of youth from the community and surrounding area who are travelling to other locations such as Kelowna or Grande Prairie to pursue degrees in nursing. We need to find out if their would be any roadblocks or hurdles in the way before to accomplishing this, or be told no. Right now we haven’t been told either way,” said Stewart.

Council agreed to further discuss the nursing school issue at the next meeting.

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