What is set to be the future of the Okanagan’s health care needs has to fulfill a need of its own before it came come to fruition.
The Okanagan College Foundation is looking for help to raise the final $750,000 needed to reach their $5-million fundraising goal for the new $19.4 million Health Sciences Centre located on the Kelowna campus.
The Health Sciences Centre officially opened this fall and educates eight health and social development professions including nursing, health care assistants and early childhood educators — fields that are all facing staffing shortages in the region.
According to Helen Jackman, Okanagan College Foundation executive director, this centre will provide technology-enhanced and student-centred labs and classrooms to mimic the professional healthcare settings students will work in when they graduate.
“Graduates from Okanagan College’s programs will care for thousands of people over the span of their careers and likely someone who is near and dear to you. You can make an amazing impact by giving to health care education,” said Jackman.
Maxine DeHart, Kelowna City Councillor and campaign ambassador for the Our Students Your Health campaign, is a big supporter of the centre and said the ongoing pandemic is a reminder of the importance of front-line health care professionals.
“Students are attracted to modern facilities and will choose to study here in the Centre’s state-of-the-art labs. We know that students who study and do their practicums locally are more likely to find employment here after they graduate, ensuring we have the professionals to care for us in times of need.”
With support from the province and increased capacity, Okanagan College is educating an additional 250 Health Care Assistants (HCA) for the region.