Healthcare workers of all stripes are in short supply in the Peace region. One of these initiatives, the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) healthcare scholarship, has been approved for another five years. 

The scholarship began as the Health Care Assistant scholarship. Developed as part of the PRRD’s initiative to recruit and retain skilled health care workers, the scholarship is a method of providing an incentive to students from the PRRD heading into healthcare at Northern Lights College.

A total of 20 scholarships, valued at $1,000 each, are available annually to eligible graduates of the three programs. 

The original agreement was valid for five years and expired at the end of 2021.

The upcoming agreement shifts the focus of the scholarship program to better suit the goals it aims for: namely, helping the future healthcare providers train—and eventually work— in the district.

Healthcare workers are not limited to traditional degree pathways, especially in the north. The new scholarship recognizes this and broadens the scope of the scholarship to several different nursing programs available (or soon available) through Northern Lights College. 

Eligible programs will now include the Healthcare Assistant program, a 31-34 week program that prepares students for home and residential care; the Practical Nursing Program, in which graduates earn diplomas in licensed practical nursing (LPN); and the Access to Practical Nursing Program. The Access to Practical Nursing program is not offered at NLC yet but the scholarship when the online program becomes available.

The new agreement also opens the scholarship doors to students who live outside the district. 

Previously, the scholarship required students to reside in the district for two and a half years directly before they entered the program. 

The new program does not have such a requirement: though it gives preference to these students it allows other graduates—as long as they have proof of employment from Northern Health—to apply.

Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for EnergeticCity.ca who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.