Native Access Program to nursing boosts number of Aboriginal nurse graduates in Saskatchewan

May 8, 2013

Through the University of Saskatchewan and the recruitment of students through the Native Access Program to Nursing (NAPN), the Aboriginal nursing shortage in the province is being addressed. "Aboriginal health professionals have a much better understanding of the needs of their communities," says Lois Berry, associate dean at the College of Nursing. "They can help other healthcare professionals do a better job at serving those needs for the aboriginal population.” The NAPN program works closely with Aboriginal students to aid them with achieving a nursing career. With advisors and support systems, students are guided through various areas, including meeting academic pre-requisites for entry into the nursing program. Emergency support services include childcare and healthcare supplements—along with helping students overcome personal challenges. Advisors with NAPN travel to band schools in First Nations communities as part of the recruitment process. Once students confirm they want a career in nursing, they are assisted through the process with mentorship. Nearly 300 Aboriginal students have graduated from the NAPN program since its inception 25 years ago. Regina Leader-Post