New Sonography Program for CNC
Prince George, B.C. – The provincial government has announced it plans to fund a new 27-month full-time diagnostic medical sonography diploma program at the College of New Caledonia’s Prince George campus.
The plans were made public this morning and will be the first of its kind outside of the Lower Mainland (the other is at B.C.I.T.) and give students the chance to pursue a career in ultrasound.
Sixteen students are expected to graduate each year and the first intake is scheduled for September 2018 with the first graduates expected in the fall 2020.
The program will cost $2.5 million – $494,000 in annual operating funding, $400,000 for one-time start up costs and $1.5 million in capital dollars for equipment and renovations.
“Sonographers are in-demand through B.C., especially here in the North,” said Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris. “We know that students often choose to live and make a home for themselves in the communities where they study.”
“Medical imaging is an area where we’ve had a lot of difficulty recruiting people,” added Dr. Charles Jago, chair of Northern Health’s Board of Directors. “So, it’s one of our hard to fill areas. Having a program here for people who live in the North and planning to stay in the North is of tremendous importance.”
Diagnostic medical sonography uses high-frequency sound waves to examine the developing fetus, heart, abdomen, pelvis and blood vessels.
This is exciting! I was looking into doing this several years ago, but to have to sell my place and move south for schooling wasn’t something I was interested in doing.
Slowly, like molasses in January, we seem to be prying money away from the south to teach this stuff locally, great to see it finally happening.
Of course the proximity to an election has nothing to do with this announcement
For a change in the past few weeks, the timing of this announcement probably has little to do with the election. Over the last few years, I was one of the health professionals pushing hard for more seats in this program. CNC is the perfect choice, it already has a med lab technical program and a med radiology program. It takes a long time to get these programs up and running. It takes the right location, the right instructors and the right preceptors in the hospitals and clinics to be able to teach the students. The job market is huge for sonographers all over the north.
While I will never be a Liberal, I am extremely pleased to see this program finally take shape.
Something I need to add to my above comments is that one of the reasons that there is such a shortage of sonographers is that their wages are not competitive in some sectors. The province of Alberta actively recruits these sought after professionals right out of BCIT and because Alberta offers better wages and some benefits, as soon as the sonographers graduate, they go to Alberta. They can also make better wages in the private sector as compared to the hospitals and public clinics.
So essential, the government is training sonographers only to lose them. It’s like the government is shooting itself in the foot. It costs a huge amount to train them but if they leave, there is still a shortage. Paying higher wages would in the long run save the province money but that would require some long term thinking on their part.
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