Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Fast track your career into nursing


Katherine Michaluk is on the fast track towards a future career as a palliative care nurse, thanks to her existing bachelor’s degree and the After-Degree Nursing Program (ADNP) she started last September.

The ADNP provides applicants—who hold a four year bachelor degree from an accredited post-secondary institution in another field—the opportunity to complete the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) program in two calendar years or six consecutive terms. The Regina-based, ADNP program is a collaborative program offered jointly between Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the University of Regina.

“I really liked that it was a two-year program,” says Michaluk. “The fact that I will be done in two calendar years versus having to go somewhere else and finish it in three to four years—it gives me an extra year or two in the field and a little bit more experience.”

Michaluk says the small class size has helped spark friendships and a strong support system among the students. Her classmates have a diverse array of degrees—in fields including kinesiology, psychology, biochemistry, nutrition, business and economics to name a few.

david Gregory, the dean of nursing at the University of Regina says these diverse backgrounds help bring fresh perspectives to the classroom. “The ADNP presents an education pathway for those applicants who hold a university degree.  We take delight in the ADNP students—as they bring unique perspectives to their nursing studies."

Michaluk graduated with a bachelor of human ecology from the University of Manitoba in the spring of 2017. She majored in family social sciences and says her key focus was on aging, death and dying. Although her first degree was in a health-related field, she couldn’t find a job that reflected her interests in aging and palliative care.

“With my degree, I couldn't get into those areas,” she says. But a career in nursing unlocked opportunities. After graduating, she says, “I can work directly with people in the front lines of the healthcare setting in palliative care—where I eventually want to be.”
Michaluk’s previous degree has proved to be an excellent complement to her ADNP studies. “A lot of nursing is teaching and programming different things for the patients. I bring all those skills with me from my past degree, and a lot of knowledge about the social side of health.”
Her experience is a prime example of how the ADNP maximizes student’s previous postsecondary education, says Sandra Blevins, dean of nursing at Sask Polytech.

“Taking into account a student’s life and academic experiences, the after-degree program provides an opportunity to access the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.”

Michaluk is on track to graduate in August 2020, but she’s already impressed with how far she’s come since September. “I think back to where I was in August before the program started and where I am now and I'm amazed at how much I've learned, how many experiences I've had, and how much my confidence has grown,” she says. “It’s a lot of work but it's totally worth it.”

She’s not the only student who has found satisfaction with the fast-track approach. Her classmate, George Yuanjian Wang, says the fast pace of the program appeals to him. “I think it suits my learning style a little bit better.” He adds, “All the instructors are amazing and they’re all experienced nurses. You can really tell that they want to facilitate your learning.”

Wang earned his bachelor of biochemistry at the University of Regina. He says he always knew healthcare would be his career trajectory after discovering that lab work didn’t suit him.

When he graduates in 2020, he plans to gain experience working in Saskatchewan, before venturing further afield. “I definitely want to use nursing as a way to travel and see the world,” he says.

For students like him who prefer an accelerated pace and already have a bachelor’s degree, Wang says, “this is probably the better way to go—even better than doing the four-year program.”

The ADNP starts annually in September. Admission is based on competitive entry. All admission requirements must be met by June 30. Application window: October 1 to February 15. For detailed information, visit: sasknursingdegree.ca.