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Federal minister talks nursing with students, faculty at Langley’s KPU

Harjit Sajjan was in Langley this week to meet with future health care workers
MP Harjit Sajjan, right, spoke with student Sara Fatehifar, left, and Sharman Lee, Dean of Nursing at KPU, during a tour on Tuesday, April 11. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Student nurses at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) faculty of nursing in Langley had a chance to talk to a federal cabinet minister on Tuesday morning.

Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development, visited with students who were on the last day of their current term and toured the nursing labs and simulation rooms at the school with faculty.

“The work that you do is important to me as well as the rest of the country,” Sajjan said.

He asked students about how they’d found nursing school compared to their original expectations – several said it was harder than they’d thought it would be – and what specialty they hoped to pursue.

Students were looking to get into everything from hospice care to maternity work.

Sajjan also tried to sell the students on working in northern B.C., where the shortage of health care workers is particularly acute.

Through his ministry, he noted that Canada sponsors medical and maternity care in developing nations, including places like South Sudan that have been ravaged by war in recent years.

“I see the challenges internationally,” Sajjan said.

He was shown around one of the simulation rooms, complete with a nursing dummy, that students use to practice.

Lab educator Cheryl Teters showed Sajjan how one of their dummies can appear to breathe, has a pulse, and how a simulated crash cart can even be used to give it a jolt with a defibrillator.

Sajjan took the opportunity to attempt CPR once the dummy was having a simulated heart attack.

The minister also spoke with Sharman Lee, Dean of Nursing at KPU, about the various programs offered and how students moved through at an accelerated rate, with many taking three terms a year instead of two.

Asked after his tour about health funding in the recent federal budget, Sajjan said there was a focus on health and dental coverage.

Because provinces control health systems, the federal government supplies mostly funding. Sajjan said that they are pleased with the programs B.C.’s government has come up with, and he acknowledged that the need for more family doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners.

Asked about housing, Sajjan said while there wasn’t a lot specifically in this budget on that file, there was in last year’s budget, which is still being rolled out.

“B.C. has taken advantage of that,” he said of federal housing funding.

With housing, it takes time for projects to start and reach completion.

“Not every budget will have a focus on everything,” he said.

This was the second visit to KPU’s health faculty in Langley by a federal politician this year. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier David Eby visited to announce the deal on health care funding between Ottawa and Victoria.

READ MORE: Trudeau, Eby announce health care deal in Langley

READ ALSO: Student signature beers showcase brewing talent at KPU

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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