UBC Okanagan adds master’s programs in nursing and social work

UBC Okanagan will offer two new master's degree programs in September. The UBC Okanagan Senate has approved programs for Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees.

"This is the beginning of a planned expansion of programs for health professionals to be offered at UBC Okanagan," says Dr. Joan Bottorff, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Development.

"What is particularly unique about these programs is that they include new interprofessional health courses. Nurses, social workers and other health professionals can learn about the latest research and about how to work together to address some of the complex health problems in our region."

Master of Science in Nursing

School of Nursing Director Dr. Joan Bassett-Smith says the new MSN program will help address B.C.'s shortage of nurses by increasing access to master’s-level education, which will lead to more master's- and PhD-prepared nurses who are qualified for teaching roles.

"We have waited a long time for this," says Bassett-Smith, whose involvement with the nursing program began in 1976 and has continued at Okanagan College, Okanagan University College and now UBC Okanagan. "Canada-wide, there are always three times as many applicants as there are seats in master's programs, so there’s a huge need for this program. We’re short of nurses generally, and we need faculty to meet the demand for more nurses."

Building on the strength of the bachelor's degree program, which has earned national awards for curriculum, the master's program will offer part-time study in its opening year. Students will take two courses in the fall, two in the winter, and another in the spring.

"The MSN program will enable nurses to study close to home in a program that advances the foundational ideas learned in the bachelor of nursing program," says MSN Program Coordinator Dr. Carole Robinson. "The program is designed with three focus areas to meet the particular advance practice needs of nurses seeking graduate preparation as leaders and clinicians as well as teachers."

An information session for prospective MSN students will be held at UBC Okanagan on March 6, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the Okanagan Room (SSC 115) in the Student Services Centre.

For details about the MSN program, contact Dr. Carole Robinson at 250.807.9882. Information regarding the program and the application process will soon be on the School of Nursing Website at www.ubc.ca/okanagan/nursing.

Master of Social Work

The new MSW program, offered by the School of Social Work, will focus on advanced practice with individuals, families and groups, to enhance both the well-being of these clients and the communities they live in. Graduates will also be prepared to assume leadership positions in social service agencies and institutions.

"The focus of this program is vital to health and social services," says Dr. Daniel Salhani, Director of the School of Social Work. "The work that social workers effect in clinical practice is very complex, so advanced knowledge and training in these skills is essential."

Dr. Brian Rasmussen, Associate Director and MSW Coordinator, adds that "The combined clinical and interprofessional focus of the MSW makes this program unique in Canada."

The School of Social Work will initially offer its new Master of Social Work program on a part-time basis, to be completed over two years. In 2007, it will be available to both part-time and full-time students. The program is currently open to those who have a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree. MSW students will have the opportunity to complete their practicum in international settings.

Admissions information for September 2006 is available on the School of Social Work's website at www.ubc.ca/okanagan/socialwork.

Both the MSN and MSW programs are offered by the Faculty of Health and Social Development in concert with the College of Graduate Studies. For information about all graduate programs at UBC Okanagan, see the College of Graduate Studies website at www.ubc.ca/okanagan/gradstudies.

-- 30 --