Open for Business Award - 2018 Winner
The District of Chetwynd is proud to have received the 2018 Open for Business Award!

Mayor’s Column – February 14, 2018

February 14, 2018


How many young Chetwynd men in grade seven aspire to a career in nursing? I mean the nursing in which, as time goes on you mature and grow confident in your profession and become skilled and knowledgeable to the extent that other health professionals actually will turn to you for advice in the Emergency Room (it does happen). Indeed, the nurse on the floor (that is, with feet on the floor and head on the shoulders) is the primary care person in the hospital, responsible for patient comfort and care – and maybe even life.

Young Chetwynd women in the seventh grade: don’t you feel excluded. I mentioned men first because traditionally nursing is seen as a woman’s profession. Get used to sharing the floor with more men. So, if you are in the seventh grade, you also might start thinking of nursing as a career in which you can make a notable contribution to the comfort and safety of your community while you earn equivalent-to-men wages.

You might wonder how to start seriously thinking of nursing as a career. How might you translate your fantasies into action? It’s quite simple, really. You will have to take your academic career seriously. You might actually be taking your schooling seriously right now. Serious might be the way you have always approached school. Great! You’ll have to keep up the serious approach to all your studies.

You also might wonder why I am stressing nursing exclusively today. Here’s why: the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in collaboration with Northern Lights College (NLC) and Northern Health (NH) is working to establish nursing training in our region. This is great news and good for all of us here in the fantastic North East. If our future nurses can be trained right here (primarily in F ort St. John and Dawson Creek with some clinical rotations in Chetwynd) the cost to the families will be greatly reduced.

And not only that, the students will get to stay home a little longer at mostly and dad’s and mom’s expense – or maybe at spouse’s expense. Not a bad deal, really.

Why start planning in grade seven? Why not? What better time to start planning? By the time you graduate from high school, perhaps having taken a couple of university-level courses before graduation, you will be well equipped to begin your career studies with a solid work ethic and the nursing program will be ready to kick off with its first cohort at the table.

Here’s how the program is proposed to work: your first four semesters will be undertaken at NLC. This is where you will obtain your basic academic requirements, including your sciences and humanities, for entry to the program – another good reason for honing your work ethic before you graduate from secondary school.

Following successful completion of the entry requirements for the professional component of your studies, you are eligible for admission to UNBC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) Program to be offered here in the North East. This is good news for all of us.

The BScN Program is a five-semester program that will qualify successful candidates for the degree to be employed as nurses.

Entry into the program also is open to mature individuals with the Associate of Arts degree or other equivalent or higher education. If you have to pick up one or two or more of the prerequisites you will find that they are available at NLC or at another post-secondary institution.

Planning for the program is progressing rapidly and enthusiasm is running high. Pending Provincial Government funding for capital and operating, the search will begin for faculty, space will be created for classes and laboratories, and curriculum details will be finalized.

The Peace River Regional District and the seven municipalities in the area are solidly behind the effort and will be using all our influence to convince the Provincial Government adequately to fund the capital and operating costs.

It is now up to you. Do your own planning and follow through with your plans. Grab every opportunity to convince your MLA to lean on the Government for support. All of us elected officials will do the same. Together we will win.

Oh, by the way, “time is the only coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you [should] determine how it will be spent. [Don’t] let other people spend it for you” (Carl Sandburg).


Merlin Nichols, Mayor