Erica Rude, Erin Slemp and Laurie Hale are all fourth year students in the collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, offered at GPRC through the UofA. Applicants for the placements included students from throughout the UofA Faculty of Nursing, and were assessed on the basis of grade point average, an application, a letter expressing personal goals and aspirations, and a personal interview.

The three GPRC students are delighted to have all been accepted for this opportunity, and now that exams are over their planning and preparation will begin in earnest.

“Ever since first year when I heard about the international nursing opportunity, Africa has been on my mind,” says Laurie Hale, formerly of Worsley. “I have always been very interested in international nursing, and wanted to have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of this type of nursing. I still find it hard to believe that we have been accepted and I am really going to Africa in six weeks!”

“This placement will be an incredible opportunity for my own personal growth as it will challenge me both as an individual and as a nurse,” says Erica Rude, of Beaverlodge. “It will be a step out of my comfort zone into a completely new environment. Experiencing the healthcare system in another country will greatly broaden my view of healthcare, nursing roles and responsibility, as well as patient care.”

“It was very exciting to learn that I would be able to go – and even more exciting to learn that I would be going with two of my friends!” says Erin Slemp, of Hanna, Alberta. “The three of us who are going talk about it a lot and I think we support each other that way. There have been so many things we have had to get done in a short amount of time - tickets, travel vaccines, Visas applications, etc... Now that we are done classes we can concentrate a little more on getting ready to actually leave for Africa.”

In January, the trio will head to the UofA campus in Edmonton to take a special Nursing course in preparation for the trip, and in early February they will be ready for departure. Meanwhile, they are busy reading about Ghana, mentally preparing for the huge change in everything from climate to diet to living conditions, and most of all talking to each other about their expectations and plans.

“Our Nursing department is very proud to be sending these three nurses to study in Ghana through this program,” says Sheila Elliott, Chair of Nursing Education at GPRC. “Their achievement is a strong testament to the strength of our program; we have offered the Bachelor of Science in Nursing in collaboration with the Uof A since 1995, graduating our first class in 1999.”

“I am not sure where nursing will take me in the future,” says Laurie Hale, “but whether I choose international nursing or rural nursing in Alberta, I hope to continue learning and developing.”

Erica Rude says she has always dreamed of taking her nursing skills to a developing country. “This experience will give me a further indication of whether this is something I want to do. I am also very interested in working in a rural hospital here at home.”

“There are many areas of nursing I really love,” says Erin Slemp, who has previously spent several months with a mission in Haiti. “I would definitely consider a couple of years at least nursing in a developing country.”

All three are also enthusiastic about the hot climate to which they will be headed, from the middle of a northern Alberta winter!

“Grande Prairie Regional College is justifiably proud of our Nursing Education program,” says Susan Bansgrove, Vice President Academic. “Our students consistently achieve recognition such as these placements, for which they compete with all of the other University of Alberta nursing students. We have worked very hard to establish strong collaborative agreements with Alberta’s Universities, and the results have meant great education and learning opportunities for students of our region, right here in Grande Prairie. We could not be more proud and pleased.”

For comment please contact:
Susan Bansgrove, Vice President Academic
Grande Prairie Regional College


Sheila Elliott, Chair, Nursing Education
Grande Prairie Regional College

For more information contact:
Lynne Ness, Communications Coordinator
Grande Prairie Regional College