KAMLOOPS — The nursing program at TRU has long been regarded as one of the best in the province.
Its reputation received an even bigger boost when it was announced a Master of Nursing program was coming to the university, the third masters program to be offered at the campus.
Earlier this week, students and faculty members gathered to celebrate the official kickoff of the program.
After years in the making, TRU finally has its own Master of Nursing program.
"We have been wanting a graduate program in nursing for a long time," said Dr. Donna Murnaghan, Dean of Nursing at TRU. "The process has been a matter of getting university approval and government approval and now we have students."
Fifteen of this year's students gathered with faculty members and medical professionals from throughout the city to celebrate the kick-off to the program.
"We have some nurses that have a Registered Nursing Diploma and they're coming through from their diplomas through to the masters program directly and then some of the students have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor of Nursing," said Dr.Nicola Waters, Master of Nursing Program Coordinator.
Student Amisha Patel holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Alberta.
"My passion is education and perinatal nursing so when I have my masters in nursing I hope to be an educator in that area," said Patel.
Patel says it was the faculty that made the Vancouver resident choose to advance her studies at TRU.
"They're experts in their area and they're ready to teach us and give us the attention you need which you can't find at a lot of other universities," said Patel.
The Masters of Nursing program offers a wide variety of both in-class and online courses for students to learn at their own pace.
"The uniqueness of our program is students have an option to do a thesis or a project or a paper," said Dr. Murnaghan. "We also have five courses or programs that we offer and one of them is an option to an indigenous nursing leadership course," said Dr.Murnaghan.
Lesley Barker has been a nurse for 24 years.
"I currently work at Royal Inland Hospital as manager of the operating room," said Barker.
The mother-of-two enrolled in the TRU program to expand her skill set.
For her, the small class size was the deciding factor.
"I was excited that they had this new program here," said Barker. "It's accessible, the cohort is small which is great. It'll be really great to have the support of my colleagues."
There is high demand for nurses who have their masters degrees.
The faculty says it hopes to increase enrollment by up to 70 students in the next few years.
"Nurse leaders are retiring and they need to be replaced and a masters degree is considered a leadership level," said Dr. Murnaghan. "We also have nurse educators who are retiring, and so we need nurses who are ready to step up to not just finish a masters but go into PhD studies."
Construction of the nursing program building is set to break ground by winter, the nurses eager and excited to get down to work and eventually make an even bigger impact on the medical industry.
"The operating room is definitely my passion," said Barker. "I can't imagine doing anything else."
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