Increase in Nursing Seats at Cape Breton University

Willena Nemeth, Taegen McPhee, Derek Mombourquette , David C. Dingwall and Travis Bonnell pose in the CBU courtyard.

Willena Nemeth, director BScN Nursing Program, Cape Breton University, Taegen McPhee, Term 5 BScN student (CBU Alumni – Degree in Psychology), Derek Mombourquette , Minister of Education and Early Childhood development, David C. Dingwall, President and Vice-Chancellor, Cape Breton University and Travis Bonnell, Senior BScN student (graduand Nov 2021) pose in the CBU courtyard.

The Rankin government announced today, July 2, the permanent addition of 62 first-year Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BScN) seats at Cape Breton University (CBU). This continues its investments in education for health-care professionals to ensure Nova Scotians get the care and access they need.

“Our government has nearly doubled the number of first-year nursing seats at Cape Breton University,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Derek Mombourquette, on behalf of Health and Wellness Minister Zach Churchill. “I know many Nova Scotians want to be registered nurses, and this means they can study in Nova Scotia and earn their degree close to home. These seats help ensure Cape Breton and the rest of Nova Scotia will have nurses to provide the care we will need in the future.”

In February 2020, government temporarily added 70 first-year nursing seats – 62 at CBU and eight at Dalhousie University’s Yarmouth campus. It was the first increase in undergraduate nursing seats in 12 years and the largest ever. The seats in Yarmouth have also been made permanent.

The provincial government is investing $3.16 million annually in the new CBU seats. This also includes funding for the university to continue to improve recruitment and retention efforts for students from under-represented groups to the BScN program or other science programs.

There are now 133 first-year BScN program seats at CBU. The additional seats ensure a steady intake of nursing students as practicing registered nurses near retirement.

“We are thrilled these seats will now be made permanent. While this has been an extraordinarily challenging year, we have repeatedly witnessed how important it is for the health-care workforce to have innovative and top-quality education. Health programming is crucial to creating strong communities, and this is just one example of how we are continuing to work to bolster the overall health and development of Cape Breton Island. In order to best serve the communities in which they live, our healthcare professionals must genuinely represent the population of Nova Scotia. Providing access to high-caliber health programming is absolutely essential.”
– David C. Dingwall, president and vice-chancellor, Cape Breton University

“Since the pandemic, interest in the nursing profession has steadily increased, with many more students applying to nursing programs across the country. We believe it’s the result of the public seeing firsthand how greatly nurses contribute to the health of their communities. I’m very pleased to see that government has responded by making these seats permanent. We welcome the relief and expertise these additional nurses will provide to the healthcare system in the not-too-distant future.”
– Janet Hazelton, president, Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union

Quick Facts:

— the provincial government will invest $3.2 million annually in the new seats in Cape Breton and Yarmouth, including funding for CBU to enhance recruitment and retention of students from under-represented groups
— there are 471 first-year nursing seats across the province
— there are more than 10,000 registered nurses in Nova Scotia

— registered nurses make up the largest portion of the provincial health workforce

Additional Resources:

Cape Breton University School of Nursing: