Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) have signed an agreement that provides placement for rural nursing students.  

Under the agreement, AHS nurses can take on RDP clinical instructor placements on a temporary basis when RDP is unable to recruit a qualified instructor.   

The joint appointment fills RDP’s need for instructors while students are completing their placements and, at the same time, enables AHS to preserve valuable and experienced nurses.  

“There is significant demand for registered nurses across the province and the Government of Alberta has responded with an investment for more post-secondary spaces to teach them,” said Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health and MLA for Red Deer North. “Through collaboration between AHS and RDP, more instructors become available, more nursing students from rural areas can learn in their home communities, and more nurses graduate to provide care at sites across the province. We are grateful for the innovation of these partners in providing sustainable healthcare solutions.”  

The Myron Thompson Health Centre in Sundre is the first site to host the new agreement, which began last September. Students in their third year of a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at RDP have taken a three-month clinical placement in Sundre under the instruction of an AHS registered nurse recruited by RDP.  

One nurse instructor is assigned per site to a group of students who are engaged in hands-on learning related to rural healthcare.  

“When we are deciding which rural healthcare sites can accommodate nursing students’ clinical placements, it hinges on providing a qualified instructor to guide these registered nurses in the making,” said Carolyn Trumper, AHS Executive Director of Integrated Quality Management, Professional Practice & Education, Planning & Performance and Clinical Information Systems. “We are grateful to our RDP partners for having worked with us to find an agreement of mutual benefit. This is truly a win-win situation for rural acute care sites, students, post-secondary, and communities.”  

Daphne Kennedy, Associate Dean, School of Health and Wellness at RDP said the agreement reduces barriers for practicing registered nurses to instruct nursing students and prepare them for rewarding careers in healthcare.  

“Through this agreement, AHS, along with our faculty and staff, will continue to effectively contribute to RDP’s nationally recognized nursing program, helping to address labour market demand, and enhancing the health and wellness of communities across Alberta,” Kennedy said.