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5 Ways Bow Valley College is Shaping the Future of Nursing Education

Bow Valley College Associate Dean of Practical Nursing, Kim Hogarth, outlines five things Bow Valley College is doing that will shape the future of nursing education and the nursing profession in Alberta, and across the country, for years to come. 

1. Virtual Reality
Bow Valley College is leading the digital revolution by implementing future-now technology in its Practical Nurse Diploma program. More than 200 practical nursing students have already completed coursework with integrated Virtual Reality (VR). This technology will help students develop the skills they will need to be work-ready. The immersive, experiential training benefits learners entering a competitive field, their employers, and, most importantly, their patients. 

2. Regional Opportunities
Bow Valley College is improving access to nursing education with new regional opportunities. For those who wouldn’t be able to access post-secondary education in their community easily, Bow Valley College developed a model that allows learners to study from home. Using remote learning technology platforms, learners can stay and learn in their community. They can then become employed in their community, build a career there, and help support the health and care of patients in their community. 

3. Microsoft Teams and Remote Learning
Microsoft Teams became the preferred platform after a pilot program offered the Practical Nursing program in rural communities. Bow Valley College began offering the same flexible learning environment to all learners after six successful years of developing that model into something effective and successful. Due to this success, the Practical Nursing program was ready to deploy remotely using MS Teams when the COVID-19 crisis hit. The program has become a global model for remote education.

4. Creating a Lifelong Learner 
Many graduates of the Practical Nursing program find work in their field and go on to have long, fulfilling careers. Yet, LPNs have many options in both in their profession and in other medical careers. LPNs can become leaders within nursing, or they can move into a bachelor bridging program and onward. Many Bow Valley College graduates also become role models and preceptors, mentoring future nurses and staying committed to lifelong learning and the support of health and wellness in their community. 

5. Expanding Role of the Practical Nurse
The future of Practical Nursing is an expanding path of work placement and opportunity. Practical nursing education is unique, and responsibilities are specific to their role, but the scope of their skills is growing. Practical Nurses bring an increasing breadth of knowledge and experience, with many hours committed to clinical settings, and more time spent on theory labs. Going forward, they will fill bigger, more complex roles and will continue to shape the future of nursing.
 

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