‘We’re just going to go fast’: Dozens of nurses graduate from University of Manitoba

More than 100 new nurses trained in Manitoba are ready to work, officially making the transition from student to professional Thursday morning.

The University of Manitoba College of Nursing’s Class of 2022 attended the first in-person pinning ceremony since the start of the pandemic. At the event, the students each received a commemorative pin, which they attached to their hearts while taking the Florence Nightingale oath.

“I’m excited, nervous for what’s to come, but I am excited,” said newly graduated nurse and single mom Jennifer Trudel.

Trudel said decided to go back to school after her youngest son Jacob recovered from cancer.

“So when he was healthy and ready to progress in school I decided it was time to follow nursing,” she said.

While in school, COVID-19 hit Manitoba hard.

The influx of patients who needed care exposed an already existing critical nursing shortage not isolated to Manitoba.

In a statement, Shared Health said the nurse vacancy rate at Winnipeg’s six hospitals (HSC Winnipeg, St. Boniface, Grace, Seven Oaks, Concordia and Victoria) stood at 20.5 per cent as of May 29.

“Despite what you hear about there’s still a lot of interest for potential or prospective students to enter the program,” said Netha Dyck, dean of the college of nursing at University of Manitoba.

She said right now there are four applications for every available nursing seat at the post-secondary school.

To get more people who are interested in the profession enrolled in the program, Dyck said in May of next year, the University of Manitoba is adding a third intake of 120 bachelor of nursing students.

“These students will continue the program throughout the year, three terms per year,” Dyck explained. “That way they’ll finish the program in 28 months versus the current 36 to 40 months right now.”

New grad Tricia Mapue Tipan expects adapting to a new career in nursing to be tricky, especially after hearing stories over and over about short staffing and long hours.

“I have a lot of nurse family (and) friends, and I would often hear of the struggles they were going through, a few people working on very critical situations,” Tipan told CTV News.

However, she’s been inspired by their resilience and is ready to start a new job on a surgical unit at St. Boniface Hospital the day after graduating.

“We’re just going to go fast,” she said.

Trudel also is not wasting time; She starts a new position as an oncology nurse at Health Sciences Centre on Friday.

“I hope I can provide some relief for some of the staff for some of the units that are already there and have been doing extra time. I am coming in fresh and new but I can still contribute,” Trudel said.

Her motivation is to provide the same level of compassion and care her son received when he needed it most. 

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