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Kwantlen nursing program relocates to Langley

Tru Freeman, Kwantlen Polytchenic University dean of community and health studies takes the pulse of a mannequin used in the nursing simulation classrooms. The entire faculty and programs are moving to the Langley campus bringing more than 600 full-time students here. - Monique TAMMINGA/Langley Times
Tru Freeman, Kwantlen Polytchenic University dean of community and health studies takes the pulse of a mannequin used in the nursing simulation classrooms. The entire faculty and programs are moving to the Langley campus bringing more than 600 full-time students here.
— image credit: Monique TAMMINGA/Langley Times

The Kwantlen Polytechnic University Langley campus is going to be a whole lot busier come the start of the fall semester.

More than 600 full-time nursing and health study students and 70 faculty have moved from the Surrey campus to Langley, bringing the entire community and health studies department together under one roof.

Prior to the transformation, only three programs were being offered at the Langley campus. Now all 10 are, including a registered nursing degree and psychiatric nursing degree.

“We are really excited to be here all together under one roof,” said Tru Freeman, dean of the CAHS.

“I think we will add a lot of life to this campus.”

Five years ago, Kwantlen’s trades department moved to the new Cloverdale campus leaving a large section of the Langley campus empty.

Since then, a major renovation has taken place, transforming the garage-like building, adding a second floor and creating essentially a hospital setting for health care students to get hands-on experience, using life-like mannequins in hospital beds, along with med carts, commodes, lifts and everything else you would see in a hospital room.

“Our high fidelity mannequins can talk, urinate, bleed,” said Freeman. “They have a pulse and a heart beat.”

The low fidelity mannequins allow nursing students to learn how to apply dressings, use ventilators and put in catheters.

“It is risk-free care that allows these students to practice before going to the actual hospital setting,” she said.

They even have a classroom set up like an elderly person’s home for the home care students.

“We have a bathroom with a toilet and tub and couch so students can learn how to transfer patients without the use of a lift. This classroom is actually provincially mandated with a new focus on home care,” said Freeman.

All the simulated hospital room settings are set up with cameras, one room with a two-way mirror that allows instructors to watch how students do and speak through the mannequin as the student treats his or her patient.

Beside that is a debriefing room where students can go over what went well with their treatment of the patient and what  went poorly.

Another part of the department allows international nurses to be assessed for their qualifications to practice in this province, she said.

Their credentials from their native country are looked at to learn what it will take to become fully accredited to practise in B.C.

“Sometimes it is just one course or it could be one year of graduate nursing,” said Freeman.

With an aging population and busy hospitals, health care professionals are still in high demand, said Freeman.

“There is still a nursing shortage.

“We mainly work with the Fraser Health and there are shortages at the new Abbotsford Hospital and in the expansion in Surrey. Older nurses will go on to retire soon.

“We aren’t out of trouble yet,” she said.

Among the programs offered are the critical care nursing certificate, health care assistant, special education teacher assistant, graduate nurse re-entry, post baccalaureate, bachelor of science in nursing and in psychiatric.

Most course, which many have students going through a four year program, will see them going to clinicals and practicums at hospitals and care homes. For the special education teacher assistant program, Kwantlen works with the Langley School District.

The faculty are trying out an open concept office, with no walls or offices separating them on the second floor. They will study to see how that is working out.

There is also a lounging area for students to study and hang out in the foyer of the department.

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