May 10, 2023

Every day, nurses across the country dedicate themselves to protecting our health

They provide compassionate and professional care to Canadians, even in the most difficult of times. Yet, as our population ages and our healthcare needs become more demanding, Canada continues to face an unprecedented shortage of healthcare workers.  

In fact, a 2019 survey by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union revealed that 73% of nurses reported that their institutions were frequently operating over capacity, indicating the strain on the healthcare system.  

SDG 3 Good Health & Well-being challenges us to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. That means we need to find innovative ways to train more workers and to encourage more students to enter healthcare fields. 

Colleges and institutes are leaders in developing learning tools that enhance healthcare education resources to employment. Did you know that colleges, institutes, and universities currently offer 308 nursing programs, 93 medical laboratory sciences programs, and 55 paramedicine programs across Canada? 

SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth challenges us to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Our Virtu-WIL project does just that. It enables learners to develop job-ready skills while addressing some of the challenges in healthcare in an innovative way.  

Virtu-WIL means more aspiring nurses, medical laboratory scientists, paramedics, and sonographers can now dive into a world of immersive, hands-on learning experiences that simulate real-world challenges.  

  • Virtual simulations are digitally-simulated clinical experiences created by educators to help students improve their skills and knowledge. With Virtu-WIL, students can improve their clinical competencies in a fun and engaging way.

Through the program, 137 free virtual simulations for students to develop the practical skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their future careers (with 54 new simulations coming, including eight in sonography). In each virtual simulation, students explore clinical scenarios, assess different situations, and then receive instant feedback on their decisions. In an increasingly complex and diverse healthcare sector Virtu-WIL is an essential resource for students looking to gain practical experience in their field.  

Virtu-WIL also strengthens partnerships between post-secondary institutions, employers, and technology suppliers. These collaborations are essential to ensuring that healthcare education keeps up with the demands of the industry and prepares students for the workforce. 

National Nursing Week is May 8-14. The celebration puts a national spotlight on nurses and ensures Canadians, policymakers, and governments understand how nurses contribute to our well-being and the indispensable role they play in our communities.