Students in the Okanagan College nursing program are speaking out after a recent decision was made to transfer their training to UBCO.
Last week, the provincial government notified Okanagan College (OC) of its decision to consolidate the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which was previously offered at both OC and UBCO. If the decision is approved, in September of 2023 the nursing program will be offered exclusively at UBCO.
“All students currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at OC will be guaranteed a seat in the expanded program at UBC Okanagan,” said Dr. Andrew Hay, Provost and Vice President, Academic at Okanagan College.
The 26 nursing students at Okanagan College have released a letter formally requesting that the tight-knit cohort be able to continue their final year of education at their chosen academic institution.
Brydie Todd, a first year OC nursing student, said that the students and faculty were not consulted regarding the plans to merge the nursing schools.
She, and her classmates want to stay at Okanagan College.
“We will be better nurses if we can have another year at our program,” said Todd.
The small class sizes and intimate learning style suit her more than the large lecture halls that are at UBCO, where her cohort would be joining 150 other nursing students.
“I’m learning so much more and getting much more out of the college experience,” said Todd, when compared to her experience sitting in lecture halls while getting her previous bachelors degree.
Todd was accepted to both the UBCO and the college and made her choice based on the location, the small class size and the costs of the nursing program at OC.
Some students have received funding to attend the college that is tied to the school and will not be transferable to UBCO.
Additionally, tuition at UBCO is expected to be approximately $4,000 more per year than at Okanagan College.
The decision to relocate the program has not yet been finalized and will be made official in July or August, which Todd says is not enough time for students to prepare for the start of the school year in September.
Impacted students will have to scramble to find housing and register for classes, that may have already reached capacity in the desired time slots.
“We haven’t been given any information abut how the transition would be handled,” said Todd.
The 26 Okanagan College students are requesting that the move be put over for a year, to allow current students the opportunity to graduate at their chosen program.