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Health and Community Services
April 29, 2013
The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services:

New Master’s Program Prepares Nurse Practitioners for Advanced Nursing Roles

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this Honourable House today to inform people throughout the province about a new nurse practitioner master’s program offered through Memorial University School of Nursing, in collaboration with the Centre for Nursing Studies.
The Master of Nursing, Nurse Practitioner Option, which began in January 2013, will see the enrollment of 12 to 16 women and men annually as a result of a Provincial Government investment of approximately $3.6 million in core funding over the next five years.
The program consists of 12 courses, and students may complete the program full time in two years over six semesters; or part time over 10 semesters. The first class of students will graduate from this program in October 2014.
Mr. Speaker, nurse practitioners provide primary health care services and are particularly important in rural and remote areas where access to physician care is sometimes limited. The new master’s program will prepare nurses to work in expanded roles in acute care areas such as emergency rooms, mental health and cardiac care, as well as long-term care and out-patient clinics.
This program is unique in that it is offered through distance education, which allows nurses to advance their education while continuing to work in their field. As a former teacher who taught courses through distance education for many years, I know first-hand the value and benefit of offering education through this innovative method.
Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador was one of the first Canadian provinces to introduce the nurse practitioner primary health care role. Currently, there are 123 nurse practitioners registered to practice in the province. In 2011, we had 21 nurse practitioners per 100,000 people, the second highest number in Canada. We have since increased this number to 24.
Our government recognizes the vital role nursing professionals play in our health care system. This master’s program will not only deliver a higher level of education and training to nurse practitioners in the province, but will advance patient-centred care and health care services overall now and in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
2013 04 29                                        1:40 p.m.

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