Horizon Health hopes new UNB program will improve nurse retention
Horizon Health officials are hopeful that a new certificate program in nursing leadership and management will show nurses that there's a future for them in the province.
Brenda Kinney, vice-president and chief nursing officer at Horizon Health, said the network has secured 40 seats in the program offered by the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. She said she hopes the program will help with the ongoing struggle to keep nurses in the profession and province.
"Continuing education opportunities, professional development is a really key strategy for retention," said Kinney. "We are working really hard on the recruitment front to help address our nursing shortage. But we also need to work equally as hard on the retention side."
Training now with the future in mind
The certificate in nursing leadership and management is an online, part-time program at UNB for individuals working in acute, long-term or community care. The program, according to the UNB website, was created with charge nurses, nursing managers, unit leads and other health-care management roles in mind.
Kinney said there are not many gaps in nursing leadership or management at Horizon at the time, but they are hopeful that training nurses in this program will mean having staff ready and able to take over as the "workforce continues to age."
"We're going to have turnover in that area as well," said Kinney. "We really want to be sure that we're providing our next leaders with the competencies and skills that they'll need to actually be really successful in nursing leadership roles in the future."
She said she doesn't have any concerns about the program taking nurses off the floor and away from bedside jobs.
The nursing career path, said Kinney, is one that offers different opportunities. So she said if people in the field are interested in leadership, their move to that area will be a "natural progression" as the positions become available.
The cohort of around 25 to 27 Horizon nurses will begin the program in May. The length of the course is five terms with one course per term.
Demand among Horizon staff
Kinney said nurses will be able to still work while taking the program because of the one course per term workload. She said many nurses already complete advanced education while working full-time.
She said Horizon's initial call for people to submit names for the program garnered around 50 applications.
"At the moment, we have more people than we actually have seats for," said Kinney, adding that the response surprised her. "So we're going to certainly be looking to see if we can get some additional seats secured."