The new practical nursing program will train 30 students from L’nu

Nova Scotia is training more health care workers to provide a diverse range of care in communities across the province. Beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, prospective practical nursing students can learn as part of a Mi’kmaq cohort at the Pictou campus of the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC).

« We are excited to work closely with Mi’kmaw leaders and community members to create a personalized learning experience that will help more Mi’kmaq learners achieve their career goals, » said Minister of Higher Education, Brian Wong. “This is an important part of our responsibility to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and to increase the number of Mi’kmaw and Indigenous professionals working in health care.

The cohort will be open to 30 Mi’kmaq learners from across Nova Scotia and is one of 120 new practical nursing spaces the government announced for NSCC in July. This brings the number of practical nursing places to 390 per year, on average.

The curriculum for the new Mi’kmaq nursing program is in the early stages of development and will be a personalized learning experience developed with a Mi’kmaq and Indigenous lens. Representatives from Mi’kmaw Kina’matenewey, Tajikeimik, NSCC, the Dalhousie Aboriginal Nursing Team and the Nova Scotia College of Nursing will all contribute, along with the Departments of Higher Education, Education and Development Early Childhood, and Health and Wellness.

Cohort learning allows a group to learn and take a course or series of courses together, providing a supportive learning style that helps students succeed.


Not only do we need more licensed practical nurses in our health system, but we need more of them who can also provide culturally appropriate care to Indigenous and other communities. In our vision, healthcare providers in all communities are respected, valued and heard. That is why every effort will be made to support this cohort and I wish them much success.
Michael Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness

Working in partnership to help more L’nu students enter health professions is a positive step that will integrate Mi’kmaq knowledge into health care, address needs and strengthen communities across the province.
Karla MacFarlane, Minister of L’nu Affairs

This program is a wonderful opportunity to create health professionals within our communities. Cohort-based programs have long been recognized as a best practice for student success. It is very exciting to see more programs operating within our communities to provide these valuable learning experiences that build the strength of our learners.
Elisabeth Cremo, director of education, Eskasoni First Nation

As a college, we know that providing a cohort with a culturally relevant educational experience grounded in Indigenous perspectives, theory and practice will help attract more people from the community to the field. The interest and commitment of so many within the Mi’kmaq community in support of this new chapter is a recipe for equitable success – both for the program and for those who apply. I look forward to seeing this program launched so that we can train a much needed new group of healthcare professionals in this important area of ​​care.
Jill Provoe, vice president, Academic, Nova Scotia Community College

Fast facts:

  • the government announced in 2021 that all nurses who graduated from Nova Scotia universities and NSCC for the next five years would be offered employment
  • in July 2022, the government announced the addition of 200 new post-secondary nursing places, including 120 practical nursing places at NSCC
  • in addition to this nursing initiative, Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton offers prerequisite courses through Cape Breton University’s School of Nursing
  • this initiative supports the province’s Action for Health solution to « become a magnet for health care providers » by investing in education and training opportunities, increasing support for recruitment efforts and understanding and addressing systemic racism, oppression and discrimination in recruitment strategies.



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