A group of nurses from Williams Lake began perinatal training at Royal Inland hospital on Monday as Interior Health seeks to reinstate maternity ward services at Cariboo Memorial Hospital.
Director of the Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Youth Network for Interior Health, Robert Finch says the five students all have previous experience as registered nurses, but no formal maternity experience.
“Other than they’ve been part of a mentorship program up at Williams Lake; several of them have been mentoring up at Williams Lake since January of this year so this is basically an accelerated education and orientation program that we’ve put together utilizing online resources, clinical simulation, and then clinical time.”
Finch says as the Royal Inland Hospital is a higher volume site with lots of delivery, it gives the opportunity for these students to have lots of experience this year with their training anticipated to be completed by the end of June.
He adds an additional two other nurses are completing some other training at BCIT, and that it will almost double the current working maternity nurses in Williams Lake.
“This is really a pilot project and one of the challenges that our health authority and truly all the health authorities in the province have faced is just around the length of time it takes to train staff,” Finch says.
“Our hope is we ‘ll need to evaluate this throughout the process and also at the end of the process. If we create something that works in parallel with some of the other education programs that are offered throughout the province we may consider doing this pilot project again on an ongoing basis for other sites around Interior Health as well.”
Interior Health hopes to resume formal maternity services at Cariboo Memorial Hospital by the beginning of July.
“Because of the number of vacancies at CMH that really led us to consider to think outside of the box. Interior Health offers a similar type of training for critical care nurses so it was a model that we were able to build off as well,” Finch says.
“It’s a real challenge for the families in Williams Lake and we want to do everything we possibly can to resume services as quickly as possible and our hopes is that this will help with the process.”
This morning, five Williams Lake nurses began perinatal training at Royal lnland Hospital. The accelerated program will give them full certification as perinatal nurses and ensure that moms in the #Cariboo can deliver babies in their home community. @WLTribune @TheGOATRocks pic.twitter.com/sgIYFyoF0i
— Interior Health (@Interior_Health) April 1, 2019
(Editor’s Note: Listen to Robert Finch, Interior Health Director of the Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Youth Network in the audio file below)