Nursing education for rural and northern practice in Canada

Lela V. Zimmer, Davina Banner, Khaldoun Aldiabat, Gwen Keeler, Amy Klepetar, Heather Ouellette, Erin Wilson, Martha MacLeod


An important way to address the chronic shortage of registered nurses in rural healthcare is to provide undergraduate education opportunities in rural settings. Few programs however, prepare all of their graduates for rural practice. The purpose of this article is to discuss undergraduate programs in a School of Nursing in mid-northern Canada with a focus on caring for rural populations. Issues posed by a vast, sparsely populated rural and northern geography for nursing education are explored. Key concerns in curriculum, clinical practice opportunities, student support, administration, and faculty engagement are discussed in light of how they may be embraced and addressed in ways that promote high quality nursing education, particularly undergraduate education. Central to the School and program’s success is a practice-driven approach to nursing education that is built upon a multi-faceted partnership with the regional health authority. Instead of viewing rural nursing as a program component, this paper offers an approach to making rural practice central to the character of nursing education programs.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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