This artist’s rendering shows the Centre for Health and Wellness that Camosun College is currently building on its Interurban campus. It is scheduled to open in 2019.

New Camosun centre promises to treat nursing shortage

46,000. That is the estimated number of job openings across British Columbia for nurses and health-care assistants by 2027, according to the provincial government.

It is the figure that animates current efforts to improve the supply of nursing across the province, and the new health education centre at the Interurban campus of Camosun College will help lead efforts in the Greater Victoria region and beyond.

The building first announced in January 2017 will house 18 health science programs, including nursing, in one location.

“The new health building has the potential to improve health in our region and province with more highly skilled, educated and most importantly caring health and social care practitioners working together as a team and contributing to an overall positive impact on health and human services in British Columbia,” said Cynthia Smith, Camosun’s dean of health and human services.

This physical integration of Camosun’s nursing program with other health-related programs reflects the real world, said Smith.

Consider the following example. Students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program will study side-by-side with students in the health care assistant and practical nursing programs. They also share study space with students in Medical Radiography and Mental Health and Addictions.

The building itself will be a four-storey building with a total area of some 8,300 square-metres, offering space for about 1,000 students.

Smith said the building will feature the latest health care technologies and learning approaches.

“Designed with the future in mind, the new building will deliver active learning opportunities in classrooms, hands-on labs, simulation environments and collaboration spaces for students to learn together outside of the classroom,” she said.

Linear in nature, the building’s focal point is an atrium that symbolizes that informal and collaborative nature of the learning space as students from the various programs including nursing will learn side-by-side in labs large enough for learning equipment and the re-creation of health care scenarios.

This physical proximity between students from the various programs not only simulates the real world of hospitals, but also allows programs to share assets, such as simulation labs, while reducing Camosun’s energy use and operating costs.

The building itself also incorporates several others elements designed to enhance environmental sustainability. They include building material designed to minimize heat loss, and lower air conditioning requirements to decrease energy consumption.

Scheduled to open in 2019, the building is currently under construction next to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE), with funding for the project coming from two major sources.

Some $43.5 million has come from the provincial and federal governments. Plans also call for the Camosun College Foundation to raise an additional $5 million from community and industry donors toward the project.

Smith already looks forward to the opening of the facility.

“When the doors open on the new building in 2019, it will be a game-changing moment in the college’s proud history and future-focused evolution,” she said.

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